NatWest withdraws loans for law hopefuls

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  • I can't believe this, what are students supposed to do now? How can anyone possibly consider studying in one of the schools in London now, as the other banks which seem to offer loans only offer up to 10/15k! I have heard that you can't possibly manage a part-time job on top of studying as too much work, so really need a loan to cover living - and these would leave you with 2k at the most! No I don't want to get into loads of debt, but as I don't have a TC yet what other option do I have?

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  • Well the banks do offer graduate loans, but these seem to have a very high interest rate - I think Natwest was offering around 9% APR while the graduate loans are almost 17% APR!

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  • I find this difficult to stomach. I am going to start my LPC in September and only with parental (and grand-parental) support have I been able to supplement my earnings from this year to afford the LPC fees. Not everyone is going to be as lucky as me in having the financial resources to self-fund, and the NatWest loans were such a vital element of the alternative LPC funding routes.

    It seems bizarre to me that NatWest are turning down future high-earners as clients, they suggest alternative products, but these are no way near as competitive enough to provide a feasible funding option for many students. So much for their Customer Charter,

    Bad show NatWest.

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  • This includes RBS too?! Feeling worried now, as I know there are career development loans available from banks but I don't think these cover GDL any more. So how am I going to fund that then!

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  • HSBC offer graduate loans at 7.5%, I think Natwest were offering their LPC loan at 7.9% so it was not the best option out there anyway, although it did offer a repayment holiday [with interest of course!]

    I definitely think more needs to be done in terms of informing students about how they can finance these courses though. Because now this LPC loan has been revoked students are going to be very unsure!

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  • It's a well known fact that LPC numbers need to be culled given the limited availability of TCs out there. I fear however, withdrawing financial support like this will mean that numbers will be cut to poorer students rather than the less able - sounds a lot like higher education in general then.

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  • It is unfortunate but it would appear the banks have realised educational institutionsare offering too many law places and there simply are NOT enough jobs to go around.

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  • "It is unfortunate but it would appear the banks have realised educational institutionsare offering too many law places and there simply are NOT enough jobs to go around." Yep. As a fellow GDLer this forces students to reconsider taking the LPC, and it means that those planning on high street firm training contracts (why!?) will have to save, and those going for the more competitive larger firms which offer fees/maintenance will work harder to get it. That way firms will always have the best candidates to choose from. (And those who can already afford it won't be able to 'sail through' if they don't impress firms; I've heard plenty about these kinds of people failing to get what they believe they deserve.) The rest of us should suck it up, stop complaining and, if necessary, move into a different career.

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  • I am currently on the GDL and have a professional trainee loan with NatWest. What is unclear is how this is going to affect people in my position. The way you take these loans is one for the GDL year and then another for the LPC year (using the latter to pay off the former thus giving you the most interest efficient loan and obviously so they make sure they're not lending to you if you don't pass).

    The spokesman quoted here says the product will be withdrawn for new customers but I have spent the afternoon on the phone to NatWest and am none the wiser as to whether that includes people who have already got the first loan and need to apply for the second. You can't telephone your branch, it's just a call centre and they have no idea. The graduate managers have disappeared, replaced by answerphone messages telling you to call your branch. Thanks NatWest, you've ruined my day.


    Oh, and I have a TC and get my fees paid, this allows me to afford rent and live without borrowing from my parents.

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  • Securing a training contract is an amazing achievement. If your firm is one that funds the LPC - You get given £12k upfront to pay your fees, you get thousands of pounds in 'free money' to live on whilst you enjoy yet another year being a student with little responsibility. All this, knowing that after this year you will be walking into a guaranteed job for the next 2 years on a VERY good salary.

    These kinds of firms are shelling out upwards of £17k on you, as a student, before you have even done ANY work for them! Then, they spend money training YOU to make you into a great lawyer.

    Why on earth, should a training contract be 'easy' to get? You should have to work at it. There should be fierce competition. Rightly so. The LPC should be open to everyone - and everyone makes their own decision as to whether to take the risk. If you don't feel up to the mark, the defer, save up, build your CV and take the LPC when you are. It is entirely your choice.

    Having said that, I agree with the above poster, and worry, that the LPC will be full of rich students self-funding at the expense of the poorer students who are finding it increasingly difficult to enter this profession.

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