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Editor’s Note: Healthy prognosis

Last week may have been a short one but that doesn’t mean the world of mortgages slowed down – if anything, the news came thicker and faster than usual.

As the market changes, it’s good to see the innovation and forward thinking taking place that will ensure the industry stays healthy.

The banks have been shaking things up, with details of Sainsbury’s Bank’s product range revealed, including deals for first-time buyers, lending into retirement and the self-employed.

The bank is working with London & Country and Legal & General Mortgage Club, following on from a Mortgage Strategy revelation last year that the supermarket giant would be re-entering the market after a 12-year hiatus.

Atom Bank has also caught the attention of many with an unparalleled offering of a five-year mortgage deal fixed at a two-year interest rate, a move that has been broadly welcomed by brokers. The offer is available for “a limited time only” but that period is yet to be revealed. It will be interesting to see how popular this arrangement proves with consumers, coming from a new and digital lender. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, though.

Meanwhile, the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries published its latest Economic Bulletin last week, featuring some valid and interesting points. It predicts that the impact of Brexit won’t be felt in the mortgage market until 2019, and anticipates a much healthier market for this year than suggested by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, with business totalling £350bn – £100bn more than the CML’s figure.

Ami also details its rationale that a restriction or ban on procuration fees in favour of charging the customer directly would be detrimental to consumers, who cannot all afford to pay for advice – a reasonable argument.

Finally, last week we also learned that Kate Davies was to replace Peter Williams as executive director of Imla, and it’s always good to see a woman at the helm of an organisation in the industry – she was clearly the best person for the job.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to big news this week. I hope you haven’t overindulged during the Easter break because there’s plenty more to digest inside this week’s issue!

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