In January 2012, HSBC made it a condition that mortgage customers would have to use one of 43 law firms on its chosen panel for all their work - or clients could nominate their own solicitor and pay an extra fee of £192 (inclusive of vat) to cover HSBC's legal work.
The effect of this was a queue of disgruntled mortgage customers and estate agents as the panel of solicitors could not cope with the levels of business which caused delays on completing on sales. http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews2634.html
Sanity has now returned. The Law Society and HSBC announced an agreement whereby HSBC will amend its conveyancing approach to enable all solicitors accredited with the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) home-buying quality mark to act for HSBC as well as its mortgage customers.
This means you can nominate your own CQS solicitor and not pay the additional fee and enjoy quick local service. This will come into effect in August 2012. www.spickettsbattrick.co.uk are highly recommended.