Network consolidation predicted

Industry pundits are expecting rapid consolidation in the network market over the next six months.

The volume of mortgages being completed is one-third of 2007’s levels, but the number of networks in the mortgage market is still relatively unchanged from last year despite the collapse in completions.

Prestbury and Trustguard are two high profile firms that went under this year while BDS Mortgage Group has merged with Pink Home Loans and MBSL with Network Data.

One source tells Mortgage Strategy that they are expecting a large number of mergers over the next six months, with just half a dozen networks left by the end of 2009.

Ben Thompson, managing director of L&G Mortgage Club, says: “The availability of new lending is insufficient to meet customer and broker demand. Something has to give and soon. The intermediary landscape is similar to that seen in 2007 but with half the business levels.”

But Richard Griffiths, managing director of Network Data Holdings, says consolidation in the sector won’t be dramatic or speedy.

He says: “My guess is that there will be five to six mergers over the next 12 months.”