The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed amendments to make it easier for “mortgage prisoners” to switch users.

The decision is expected to affect around 150,000 mortgage prisoners, who are stuck with inactive and unauthorised firms.

These customers are unable to opt for a cheaper mortgage owing to strict affordability assessment criteria imposed after the financial meltdown.

Under the proposed rule, lenders would be allowed to loosen affordability checks for customers who are up to date with their repayments and seek better deal without further borrowing.

The move comes after a study by the watchdog which found the £1 trillion mortgage market falling short in specific ways even though working well.

Besides, FCA urged lenders to participate in innovative tools.

According to the regulator, this will enable customers to easily identify what mortgages they are eligible for.

The regulator also proposed the incorporation of mortgage intermediaries in the Single Financial Guidance Body.

This is said to enhance customers’ choice of broker.

FCA executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard said: “The market is working well for many with high levels of customer engagement and competition.

“The package of remedies we are taking forward will benefit consumers by encouraging innovation and making it easier for them to find the right mortgage.

“We are particularly concerned about consumers – who are commonly referred to as mortgage prisoners – who are currently unable to switch. That is why we are acting now to help remove potential barriers in our rules.”