My 25 year mortgage endowment policy matures tomorrow. It's a rite of passage: I've had the policy for more than half my life, and took it out the year I started work.
Inevitably, the policy has fallen short. It was supposed to pay off a £27,000 mortgage. It looks as if it will produce £6,000 less. But I can't claim I was mis-sold the endowment as I sold it to myself when I was working for Nationwide in Newport, Wales.
But I totally understand the outrage people felt about the way the banks and building societies flogged endowments. In 1984, 80% of mortgages were repayment, which meant that the borrower knew they'd have paid off their loan at the end of the term. By 1988, 80% were interest only, backed by an endowment, even though the tax benefits of endowments had disappeared in those four years. The reason? Banks and building societies had realised how much money they could make from flogging endowments.
Back in 1988, I inadvertently told the Daily Telegraph how much Nationwide made from endowment commission. "You won't do that again!" said Nationwide's general manager. I didn't, but felt uneasy about the endowment circus.
PS: 25 years ago, I'd have been amazed by the fact I've written this post on a tablet computer with far more power than my Nationwide Nixdorf computer - let alone the idea I'd then publish it to the world in a taxi!