Nationwide BS drops premium rate 0870 number

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

The society told MI that the premium rate 0870 numbers used by its national intermediary business call centres will be switched to local rate 0845 numbers this week. Only the prefix will change, with the remainder of the number staying the same.

MI’s campaign for lenders to change their expensive 0870 numbers to local rate numbers for intermediary enquiries has already enjoyed significant victories with Portman Building Society, The Mortgage Works and Chelsea Building Society all changing their numbers this year. Brokers are concerned that lenders who still insist on 0870 numbers are saving money at their expense.

Nationwide spokeswoman Charlotte Sjoberg said the change would benefit brokers and their clients. “Nationwide is reviewing its intermediary proposition and the number change is the first in a long line of moves to improve intermediaries’ experience at Nationwide,” she explained.

Simon Chalk, mortgage planner at Mortgage Portfolio Services, has frequently spoken out against lenders using 0870 numbers and applauded Nationwide’s move. He said: “Hopefully this will bring pressure on other lenders to follow Nationwide’s example.”

Commenting on lenders using 0870 numbers, Rod Murdison, proprietor of Murdison & Browning, said: “It falls into lenders’ disingenuous attempts to grab more money. Why say you want brokers to use your services and then sneakily charge them for doing so?

“Why tell brokers that they have the lowest rate over an initial period only to find that when you add in voluminous arrangement, admin and deeds release fees they fall from top position to twentieth? Do they think we can’t add? Do they think this helps their relationship with us and our clients? It’s hardly treating their customers fairly.”

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