A mortgage broker in Northern Ireland was fined and banned from operating this week by the watchdog Financial Services Authority (FSA). Gareth Flanagan, of Londonderry’s GMF Marketing Services was fined £95,200, although this was reduced by 30 per cent from £136,000 due to an early settlement. Flanagan was found to have failed to act with due integrity in his role as mortgage broker by wilfully submitting mortgage applications containing false information through the company in his own name, thus misleading mortgage lenders as to his level of income, place of residence, employment status and his plans for the money. He submitted nine applications for five properties between December 2005 and November 2007, with five resulting in mortgages with a combined value of £1,325,722. Flanagan also failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the part of GMF’s business for which he was responsible complied with all regulatory standards. He gave various explanations for his actions, claiming at one point that it was stupidity rather than dishonesty which lay behind them. In one instance he put capital raising to purchase holiday home as the reason for his remortgage application, although the cash was actually invested in the company. When queried about the reason by the mortgage lender, he admitted that this was not why the mortgage had been obtained, but insisted that another member of staff must have chosen the wrong option from an online drop-down menu despite the note being hand-written by Flanagan himself! GMF has stressed this week that it is now run by a completely new board of directors and has a new staff member with responsibility for compliance oversight. For his part, Flanagan is now neither employed by or a shareholder in the company.