Back to mortgage lenders for my reviews this week, with Scarborough Building Society, Clydesdale Bank and Ulster Bank. They may not be the biggest lenders in the UK but each has something to offer the market.
These will be the last lenders I shall cover for a while. Several intermediaries have asked me to review their consumer websites so I shall be doing just that. Starting next week, I shall check out the websites of three mortgage intermediary firms from one town.
So if you want your firm to be included and don't think that I'm likely to find your website using an internet search engine, then send the website address to me at email@example.com
Scarborough Building Society
Although fairly small in the grand scheme of things, the Scarborough is an interesting company as it owns Specialist Mortgage Services, a third party administrator offering outsourcing solutions covering mortgage portfolio management and new business processing as well as other services.
The website is pleasing to the eye and mortgages get a look-in right from the start with the flexible base rate tracker promoted on the homepage. All products, including a rare 10-year fix, have click-throughs to get to the details and there's a good glossary of terms to go with them. But it's a pity that the request for full product information is tucked away almost out of sight below the small print – perhaps it doesn't like to send the information out.
Clydesdale Bank has been part of National Australia Bank since the late 1980s and it has a similar website set-up to other members of the NAB group. There's no intermediary-specific section so intermediaries have to use the home loans pages within the personal banking area of the main site. At least the pages are easy to get around with the main index across the top of the screen and a full navibar down the left hand side.
Current account mortgages are at the forefront of their product portfolio but you have to be serious about your interest before attempting to download the illustration calculator as this takes around 10 minutes on an average PC. Still, information elsewhere is clear enough.
Ulster Bank is part of RBS group with operations in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. The mortgage section in the personal banking part of the website claims Ulster can do “fast mortgage approval without a song and dance”. I'll be interested to hear if it fulfils that promise. There's no song and dance about the mortgage webpages though. The mortgage products are clearly laid out in one table with click-throughs for the detail, although the description of the flexible mortgage is too wordy. There are the usual budget planner and costs checklists plus a quickquote facility that comes back with payments calculated across the whole product range for easy comparison. The jargon buster is good too.