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Hero to zero

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

Hero

Heroic Halifax – again. No, I haven’t just returned from a night out with Pete Doherty but I would like to pat it on the back for the extension of its excellent two-year fixed rate. £599 is a fee worth paying for many clients (especially with larger mortgages) when the switch can be easily administered by us online, with minimal administration and of course its fast-track system is extremely helpful.

Combined with its efficient free legal and valuation services it is inevitable that its service levels have dipped due to high demand for this product in particular. It is however still as good as many lenders and the Premier Team are very flexible indeed. Note Bank of Ireland’s 12-working-day-turnaround and withdrawal of product range.

The Halifax offering is exactly the type of product, administration and support that as an intermediary I am looking for and as many client’s two-year fixes are now coming to an end this helps to ease the pain of the increase in rates.

Also, with this being an intermediary exclusive it offers a real competitive edge when facing up to web-surfing clients. While I do feel rates should be the same across the board for all channels it’s good to know that intermediaries are being valued. A good broker rep also helps – keep up the good work Christine.

Zero

‘Nil points’ to the Portman which has again launched an excellent product range with only limited availability to intermediaries. Its two-year fixed rate at 4.15 per cent is extremely competitive but not available to brokers. Within new FSA regulations, MCOB and ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ (TCF), as intermediaries we should be recommending this rate to suitable clients without any form of remuneration from the lender. TCF?

How about ‘Treating Intermediaries Fairly’? We have supported Portman in the past, but this persistent out-pricing for their direct business is not acceptable. When are lenders going to stop this thoroughly irritating practice? When they lose so much market share from brokers, that’s when. They’ll be back soon…come on Portman smell that beautiful Bournemouth sea air and treat us fairly.


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