Countrywide is investigating reports that one of its estate agent branches is pressuring customers to use in-house mortgage advisers.
Mortgage broker White Financial Services reports two of its clients in the last fortnight were unduly encouraged by Countrywide subsidiary Palmer Snell to use their own mortgage adviser.
The Taunton branch of Palmer Snell told the customers they could not view or put in offers on properties without seeing the firm’s tied mortgage adviser, according to White Financial Services managing director Dan White.
One client was asked to supply identification and three months of payslips and bank statements to put in an offer.
Such documents would not normally be requested by estate agents pre-offer but could be used to arrange a mortgage.
White says: “It was lucky they were both quite strong headed and said no.”
One customer was told by Palmer Snell that the vendor had requested the information.
A Countrywide spokeswoman says it is looking into the situation but that it is not the firm’s policy to funnel customers to their own mortgage advisers.
The spokeswoman says: “Countrywide takes these matters seriously and as such are investigating the incidents as outlined to us in this branch.
“We can say with certainty that we do not impose conditions on any applicant wishing to view or make an offer on a property. We like to ensure that any offer put to vendors has been qualified but do not insist that any customer needs to meet with any of our consultants.
“Our job is to ensure that the process between buyer and seller is a smooth as possible. We pass all offers on to our vendors.”