Portman to leave intermediary market

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

The Portman told Mortgage Introducer it will be ditching its intermediary channel as it could not support two brands on one system, explaining it would be more viable for TMW to be the sole brand focusing on broker business.

This follows constant criticisms of the Portman that it has been offering more competitive deals direct-to-consumer-only this year at the expense of the intermediary market.

Matthew Wyles, group development director at the Portman, said it had not finalised the timescale as to when it would be going direct-only but admitted it would do it tomorrow if it could.

He said: “Our medium-term plan is to just go direct to the consumer with TMW dealing with the intermediary side. It’s all to do with our technological facilites and not being able to support two brands on one system. This does not mean we are not supportive of the broker market.”

“If we are still offering good products through TMW then I don’t think this will cause any problems with our brokers. In fact, it will eliminate all the issues we have in terms of dual-pricing and the confusion this has caused intermediaries,” Wyles added.

Despite its plan to concentrate on the direct market, the Portman this week announced it will be shutting four branches in Wiltshire, West Sussex and Devon. They were among the nine earmarked for closure by the Society in October last year due to under-performance.

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Brentchase Financial Services, said: “According to CML figures, the Portman gets 57 per cent of its mortgage business from brokers. What will it do to make this up? Open more branches? I don’t think so as it’s shutting them. However, we do use TMW more as it has better rates but its service is not of the highest order.”

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