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first direct mortgage panel criteria change

24 February, 2020

first direct has informed us that they’re making changes to their purchase mortgage panel criteria to fully align with HSBC UK Bank plc. With effect from 28th February 2020 only conveyancing firms who are eligible to act for HSBC will be able to act for first direct. As part of this change, the lending transaction limits will also be fully aligned as set out below:

  • sole practitioners: up to £350,000 loan value
  • two or more partner firms: up to £2million loan value
  • four or more partner firms: over £2million loan value and must have minimum Professional Indemnity Insurance of £5 million

The change sees an increase in the loan value threshold for firms with 2 partners and the removal of any mandatory separate legal representation requirement linked to loan value. The change only applies to any new applications from 28th February 2020, with customers being advised at the time of application if their chosen conveyancer is able to act for first direct.

There are no changes to the instruction process for first direct, these will continue to be issued directly and legal documents will be accessed through the first direct website ‘Legal Instructions for moving home’ at

Where a firm is currently eligible to act for HSBC, they’ll automatically be able to act for first direct subject to the transaction limits and so need take no further action. They do not need to contact first direct.

Any firm wishing to act for HSBC should contact HSBC’s Panel Manager