It is commonly known that different banks have varying service expectations to release funds, however, in this guide, we will discuss the differences in the number of days those specific banks take to release mortgage funds.  We will also discuss the importance of timeliness when dealing with financial transactions and the consequences of a delay.

How long do specific banks take to pass on mortgage funds?

Each bank will have specific service targets that they aim for in order to provide a time frame to release funds, however, on the odd occasion, there may be a complication that extends this time period. According to research by Mortgageable, the current target time frames that banks aim to release mortgage funds are as follows:

Bank Time frame
Nationwide Nationwide aims to release mortgage funds within 7 days for re-mortgage cases whereas, for new mortgage applications, this may be a few days longer.
Barclays Barclays advise that their target to release funds is usually within 5 working days.  If your funds have been returned to Barclays, you can request them after 3 working days.
Santander Santander advises that they aim to release mortgage funds within 3 days.
Halifax Halifax targets themselves to release mortgage funds within 7 days.
NatWest NatWest aims to release mortgage funds within 7 days of the request.
HSBC HSBC has one of the longest time frames, aiming to release the mortgage funds within 14 days of the request.

It is important to note that interest is applicable for mortgages as soon as the funds are drawn from the lender and paid to the solicitor and therefore timing is extremely important. 

How are mortgage funds released?

Mortgage funds are released on the day the mortgage holder legally becomes the owner of the property, on the completion date of the mortgage. The typical process involves the elected solicitor drawing the mortgage funds from the lender ahead of completion, to ensure that cleared funds are available for the completion date.  Solicitors often allow extra time to ensure that the funds are received in time, perhaps requesting the funds from the mortgage provider three working days ahead of completion.

Once cleared funds are ready the solicitor will make the payment for the property to the seller’s solicitor and in return, receive the title deeds to complete the process. Each transaction will need to be actioned in a timely manner, allowing time for the funds to clear.  Often each transaction will involve moving a large sum of money between banks via a specific type of bank transfer called a CHAPS, which stands for the Clearing House Automated Payment System.  There are charges for using the CHAPS service, usually between £20 and £35 per transaction.  

How long can a solicitor hold mortgage funds?

The duration of time that a solicitor can acceptably hold mortgage funds will depend on the lender’s rules. If the drawn funds are not used, either in their entirety or partially, the solicitors must return the funds back to the mortgage lender.

What happens if mortgage funds are not released on the completion date?

There could be a significant impact on the property transaction in the scenario that mortgage funds are not released in time.  In this scenario the solicitor will likely already be liaising with the lender to understand the nature of the delay, however, it is recommended that the applicant should always keep in touch with all parties to ensure that any queries can be resolved as soon as possible.

Can mortgage funds be released before exchange?

It is not a common practice for lenders to release mortgage funds prior to the exchange date, other than giving a few days grace for funds to clear.  If there is a specific need for early funds to be released, the solicitor will be required to discuss the case with the lender. However if there is a requirement that the lender cannot meet, perhaps due to an unplanned change with the transaction, another type of finance may be required such as a Bridging loan.  It would be best to seek independent financial advice in such a scenario to find the most appropriate financial solution for personal circumstances. 

Can the standard release process be sped up?

Unfortunately, the process of releasing funds cannot be sped up as there are strict rules regarding the process from various parties. Examples of which can be found below:

  • Legal checks required – The source of funds will need to be established and proven ahead of the transactions taking place in order to comply with anti-money laundering legislation which came into UK law in 2017.  The objective of the legislation is to stop criminals using professional services to launder money within the UK and requires solicitors to ensure that the potential property owners have proven their identity, address and source of funds.
  • The administration time – As discussed within this article, the lender will require administration time to process the request of releasing funds.  In addition to this, further time is required to enable the withdrawn funds to clear, following being moved between banks.

However, mortgage applicants can assist the process to run as smoothly as possible by being organised with paperwork, signing documents and being prompt to answer any queries. In addition, applicants should ensure that the monies required for the deposit, to pay the solicitor and any Stamp Duty if required are in an accessible place and have cleared in plenty of time. 


In this post, we have explored the process involved with releasing mortgage funds when purchasing property, including the typical duration of time this takes for specific banks and the importance of clearing funds.We have also briefly covered the checks required to allow solicitors to meet anti-money laundering legislation. Should you have any queries regarding obtaining a mortgage, the mortgage process, or anti-money laundering legislation, please do get in touch with our friendly team for further advice.