ING considers broker channel

Ramesh Sharma

February 4, 2006

MI revealed in October last year that ING Direct was to launch into the mortgage market in 2006, but had been warned it would only have limited success if it cut brokers out of the equation.

It had been widely expected that ING, which specialises in direct savings, will make its mortgage product available direct to customers only, although some commentators believed it may change its distribution strategy further down the line if it struggles to appeal to clients.

But a source has told MI that ING is looking at the intermediary market in preparation for the launch.

The possible decision to include brokers could be a result of feedback ING has received from a questionnaire it sent out to customers in December about what they want to see from the product and services provided.

Mark Lowe, spokesman for ING Direct, said: “ING is still undergoing the customer consultation process so nothing has been finalised. The way the product looks will not be decided until this process is completed.”

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, said: “I’ve heard ING is looking at the broker channel also. Initially, its plan was to simply deal direct. It makes sense. It may be doing a u-turn due to customer feedback which speaks volumes about the value of the intermediary sector.”

Boulger added: “It’s impossible to say how successful ING will be without knowing about the product. But service is crucial. When it launched its saving deals it was not ready for the demand and the service was very poor. Hopefully it will have learnt a lesson from this mistake.”

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