Allegation about Santander adviser being investigated

In last week’s issue (Mortgage Strategy May 3), Neil Barnes’ letter ’Santander should scrutinise its own staff and practices’ describes how his client, who was looking for a buy-to-let deal, was advised by a Santander branch adviser to secure a better rate by applying for a retail mortgage and later confess they are not living at the property.

If true, this action by the adviser fell significantly below the standards we demand. We are taking this allegation seriously and have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the case.

We take a number of measures to ensure that our branch-based mortgage advice is of the highest quality. These include training programmes, independent scrutiny of advisers’ behaviour, mystery shopping exercises and targeted development programmes to improve behaviour where poor performance is found.

We also take a rigorous approach to screening both branch and broker applications to ensure our residential mortgage products are not being used to fund buy-to-let investments. These controls are applied across all channels.

This approach has been important in allowing us to offer consistently competitive rates in all market conditions.

If we find that one of our mortgage advisers has operated in the way suggested I can assure readers we will take firm action to ensure that this behaviour is not repeated. It is not indicative of our normal approach to lending.