Consumer knowledge improving

Amanda Jarvis

May 26, 2006

From the high-street to home-loans; the trend for “savvier shopping” has hit the mortgage industry and advisers should gear up for a more demanding breed of mortgage-hunter, according to Standard Life Bank.

Three months after the launch of its informative online movies series, Freestyle+, Standard Life Bank has analysed what would-be borrowers are looking for in a mortgage (based on movies viewed) and discovered a demand for home-loans that will work harder for them.

Freestyle+ is a set of 25 movies launched to provide mortgage-hunters with unbiased educational information to help them make better informed choices.
They are accessible at www.standardlifebank.com/adviser. Movie topics range from basics, including “How much can I borrow?” to more in depth subjects such as “Offsetting vs Overpaying”. There is an additional movie designed specifically for introducers.

Buy-to-let has attracted the vast majority of Freestyle+ visitors with more than half (55 per cent) of the total viewings. Of these, almost one in five (18 per cent) is specifically interested in how buy-to-let could help them to retire.

Cash Reserve and offsetting have also proved to be popular choices, with the latter attracting one in 10 site visitors. In contrast, fixed and discount deals are currently generating less interest among site users.

Jackie Moran, Head of Sales Proposition at Standard Life Bank, said: “Our findings show that today’s mortgage-hunters are becoming savvier about the way they use their products. Whether offsetting, using a buy-to-let product or adding a Cash Reserve; mortgages are being used as financial tools to help fulfil ambitions – they’re no longer regarded as just a financial

“This is great news for the advice industry because it supports the advice and sales process and helps to build long-term client relationships.
Advisers can show these savvy clients how to get more from their mortgages and how to incorporate them into their wider financial plans and investments”.

Nicola Tait, business development director of London-based mortgage brokers Indigo, said: “It’s great to see that consumers are getting more adventurous with their financial products, and particularly mortgages, which have historically been regarded as just a necessary evil.

“We’ve witnessed the same demand for more hard-working mortgages from our own clients and it’s always satisfying to show them how their mortgage can make a real difference to their lifestyle. We often recommend Freestyle+ to our savvier mortgage hunters as a great first port of call”.

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