Brokers urged to check product availability

Ramesh Sharma

March 25, 2006

Rob Horne, senior financial consultant at Pure Mortgage Solutions Ltd, expressed his anger at B&W’s decision to introduce a £399 arrangement fee to porting deals. He said: “When my client told me he had to move, but was part way through a tied rate, I told him not to worry. I hoped he could top up his borrowing with something like a fee-free, no-tie tracker, but I was told he could only have deals that had ties beyond the end of his current fixed rate or the SVR. Imagine my surprise when I learned two weeks later, when the client was ready to move, the SVR offered had been replaced by an SVR identical but for its £399 arrangement fee.

“This new product is wholly unfair as tied customers are barred from the free SVR – they pay a fee and in return get a high, variable rate. They have little option but to accept it because they are tied.”

Horne added: “I hope the decision to introduce the £399 SVR was made without much thought and will be swiftly reversed.”

However Rebecca Lobley, head of existing customer proposition at Bristol & West Mortgages, argued the lender had informed brokers prior to its product changes. She said: “In this scenario it would appear the broker has not obtained clear guidance on what products are available. We would always recommend a broker talk to us before making any commitments to customers about product availability, as mortgage products are always subject to change.

“Due to unfortunate timing in this instance, on 1 March we amended our range of porting products available to customers moving house and taking additional borrowing simultaneously. When Mr Horne spoke to his Bristol & West contact, they informed him of the change to our mortgage product availability.”

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