As the largest organisation representing the nation’s mortgage market, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, or CML, boasts a membership that accounts for around 95% of all the home loans issued in the UK.

In July 2014, the Council had 122 members, ranging from banks and building societies to various other lenders, in addition to 83 associates, who were drawn from a pool of businesses with an interest both in the work of the CML and the market in general.

A non-profit organisation, the CML acts as the trade association for the industry and aims to maintain what it calls a “favourable operating environment” for UK mortgages.

A shifting market

The Council was founded in 1989 after representatives from the Association of Mortgage Lenders (a predecessor of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association), the Association of British Insurers, the Finance Houses Association, and the Building Societies Association met up the year before, to establish a single trade body for all mortgage lending in the country.

In the years since then, the UK has seen the industry’s value skyrocket from £67m to its 2007 peak of £363m. It then cooled to the market worth approximately £176m that it is today.

Comparing a first-time buyer from 25 years ago to one today highlights the stark inflation that has occurred since the CML was launched. In ’89, a buyer would typically have borrowed £29,000, which is about 2.22 times the average household earnings at the time. Today, however, a buyer borrows around £123,000, which is about 3.47 times an average household income in 2014.

Role of the Council

The CML’s chief position sees it offering economic and statistical data, conducting research and providing information relating to the market. Through its website, the Council sets out advice for those experiencing payment difficulties or facing repossession, as well as guides for buyers looking for a home in England, Scotland and Wales.

Advantages for members

For the organisation’s list of members, which includes big names like Halifax, HSBC and Barclays, there are a host of benefits that come with being associated with the CML. Pros include admission to member-only areas of the Council’s website, as well as direct access to the organisation’s team of experienced policy advisors.

Members are also able to take advantage of a research team for difficult-to-obtain industry data, or get involved in working groups, panel discussions and seminars to address issues existing in the market today.

Statistics and Current affairs

In acting as a research body, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a large organisation like the CML is behind much of the statistical data examining the state of the UK’s mortgage market.

On its website, it offers access to a host of statistics harvested in areas such as gross mortgage lending, remortgaging, arrears and possessions, buy-to-let, and lending data specific to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

However, non-members’ first thought when asked about the CML will probably relate to the organisation’s prolific commentary on some of the biggest stories pertaining to the industry.

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