"What on earth are you all up to?"
"SOX mate. Sarbanes-Oxley. We need to work out which people need to sign what so we can tick the box to say that we've done it".
Given what followed, it would be tough task to argue that corporate governance was ever improved a great deal by the box ticking, even if the review was well-meaning in its intentions.
"What the...5 weeks for a consultation?"
"Yeah mate, we have to say that each meeting takes 2.5 hours now, so a maximum of only three consultations per day. Internal rules mate."
"Eh? You've got to be ki...what if the consultations don't take two-and-a-half hours?".
"3 meetings per day, mate. It's our new rules."
Impact of MMR Implementation now Receding?
There seemed to be little doubt that, whether tougher new lending rules were implemented or not, the box-ticking and paper-shuffling required by the MMR would jam a spoke in the wheels of the British mortgage market.
Moving on to the latest monthly data for October 2014 from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and it seems that with the market having become gummed up by new administrative hurdles for the preceding two months, perhaps we are now coming out the other side, with an estimated £19,000 million of gross mortgage lending written in October.
Eagle-eyed readers will note a small problem related to the supposed "UK property bubble" that self-proclaimed international experts have been harping on about for the last couple of years.
That minor issue being that it doesn't exist. The clue was in data, specifically that re-presented here.
October 2014 Gross Mortgage Lending - £19 billion
October 2007 Gross Mortgage Lending - £33 billion
In inflation-adjusted terms gross mortgage lending has halved, which is one the most peculiar "bubbles" I've heard of (and there has sure been some dumb overuse of the term in recent years).
Anyone who has bothered to visit Britain will intuitively know that the reality is a seriously hot London market, with high prices also existing in the south-east (the region which is adjacent to the capital).
What London's many housing bears have consistently failed to understand or recognise over the past two decades is that ramming 20 million people inside the restrictive "green belt" - 18.7 million persons at the time of the 2011 Census snapshot, and many more today - now combined with zero interest rates (ZIRP) and woeful levels of construction, will obviously push house prices higher than a multiple of 3 times incomes.
Away from London, where prices have pressed on higher by 30 percent since the 2007 peak, and the south-east, where prices up by 55 percent over the past decade, the market has been all but stagnant for nearly 8 years in many cases.
The "UK housing market" may have a combined value of more than £5 trillion, but well over £1.1 trillion of that is in only one of the UK's 69 cities, and more than £2 trillion of the balance sits in the London and south-east region alone.
As noted here previously, Britain needs to encourage business investment and jobs growth away from London in the regions, instead of thinking up ever more contrived ways to get northerners into London faster, a network of high-speed rail links being the latest wheeze.
Mortgage Lending 2003-2014