Lenders urged to focus

Ramesh Sharma

March 11, 2006

The message comes from Gerry Bell, head of mortgage marketing for GE Money Home Lending, on the back of First National’s launch of a first-time buyer (FTB) and near-prime product.

The products offer a rate starting at 3.99 per cent for its near-prime range and 4.49 per cent for its FTB deal. Bell believes this indicates that First National is responding to intermediary needs.

He said: “The boundary between the non-conforming market and traditional high-street prime lenders is becoming very blurred and the customer will ultimately benefit from the increased competition. However, lenders will have to keep on their toes as you cannot have a too widely-scoped range because brokers know exactly what their clients’ want and will use lenders who can deliver that.”

Bell points to the increasing importance of the non-conforming market and the fact more consumers find themselves barred from prime products as the reason behind First National’s expansion of its near-prime range.

Also, the continuing problems for FTBs getting onto the property ladder has led to calls for increased lenders aid in terms of better products and greater flexibility.

“Prime lenders are tightening their criteria so an increasing number of people are falling through the net and we are expanding our range to cope with this. For first-timers, low deposits and value for money are vital – lenders need to have the flexibility to give them the leg-up they need to get onto the property ladder,” Bell added.

Of the mortgage products launched, Dennis Kavanagh, mortgage specialist at Web Financial Services, said: “Both rates are very competitive and the fact there is no overhang is important. There is no point doing a two-year deal, however good the initial rate is, when you’re stuck afterwards on a standard variable rate.”

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