Brokers hit back at Coventry’s NI withdrawal

Nia Williams

April 9, 2013

The Coventry’s withdrawal was reported in Mortgage Introducer yesterday. We can now reveal that the society took the decision due to a perceived drop in business volumes.

In a statement the Coventry said: “Coventry Building Society can confirm that it will no longer offer new mortgages to borrowers in Northern Ireland from 4th April due to a decline in business volumes.”

However brokers dismissed the Coventry’s claims that business volumes have suffered.

Stephen Webb, sales and operations manager at Belfast-based The Mortgage Shop, said: “Obviously we are disappointed to see any lender pull out of Northern Ireland.

“Business volumes haven’t declined and are at around the same level as last year. Transaction levels are generally improving.

“Just under 5% of our applications were with the Coventry this year. We don’t understand why when we’ve been through the worst they are pulling out.”

“Data released today has shown that house prices in Northern Ireland have risen for the first time in six years which is a positive. As such I can’t really understand why they are pulling out when things seem to be slowly improving.”

Webb’s sentiments were echoed by Kieran Byrne a broker at County Down-based KGB.

Byrne said: “We’re completely irritated by this. We literally have hardly anyone in Northern Ireland to deal with now. We’re really unhappy about the whole thing.

“Business levels remain at roughly the same level as last year; there’s no logical reason for them to withdraw.

“They’ve given us little or no information except that our pipeline cases will be honoured.

“The fact they are honouring the pipeline cases is fair enough and I respect that but it would have been nice to have more information.

“We’ve recently had the Halifax pull out of self build with zero notice and we had cases in the pipeline which got decimated. There’s just no logical reason to be pulling out of Northern Ireland.”

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