FSA ‘laid bare’ website stripped to pieces

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

Thomas Reeh, chief executive at blackandwhite.co.uk, struggled to see the value of the site given that almost every lender in the UK has a FAQ section on its website and deemed the site to be a ‘navigational nightmare’.

He said: “If you want to search for anything meaningful it’s just a series of confusing links that bounce you back to the FSA’s main site which of course has absolutely no industry jargon contained in its pages, does it? To do a simple firm check you have to go through four screens.

“ If you want a quote on a remortgage it’s a staggering eight screens to get the information you need. It’s great news for Abbey though as the product tables are defaulted to appear in alphabetical order, not overall repayment over the term.”

The FSA has launched the website for consumers to include budget calculators, mortgage tables and a ‘firm check’ service in order to check if a firm is authorised.

The launch follows research commissioned by the FSA on what UK mortgage holders and first-time buyers (FTBs) knew and felt about buying a mortgage.

It showed 56 per cent of mortgage holders and FTBs didn’t know what APR stood for, 52 per cent of mortgage holders didn’t know what their APR was and 36 per cent didn’t understand at least half of their product literature. In addition, 65 per cent of FTBs felt daunted by buying a mortgage and 76 per cent would like access to more impartial information about mortgages.

To promote the FSA’s free tools and resources it is running a national and online advertising campaign with a ‘naked’ theme to show the world of mortgages ‘laid bare’ and stripped of jargon. It’s the first phase of a new £1.5 million consumer campaign with further activity planned for the new year.

The FSA confirmed none of its employees would be appearing naked in the campaign.

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