B&B panel shock rumoured

Bradford & Bingley will reveal its revised lending panel by the end of the year and it is rumoured there will be a shock removal, Mortgage Strategy has learned.

In August MS reported the panel could be slashed from 25 lenders to eight after the high street broker’s shake-up at the start of this year when it cut its panel from 50 lenders to 25.

Though the revised panel has not yet been announced, the final number is thought to be between 10 and 20, with one notable absence.

The panel currently includes Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and C&G, as well as major lenders Halifax and Nationwide. It is not yet known which lenders will survive but with one major lender rumoured to be missing out, the final panel will reap the benefits.

David Bitner, head of mortgages at B&B, says: “There are still decisions being taken although we have talked to most of our panel lenders and are getting closer to deciding who will remain on our panel.”

B&B released its quarterly mortgage market review last week. This showed a rise in gross mortgage lending in August to an estimated 27.5bn – one of the highest figures yet seen.

Duncan Pownall, mortgage development manager at B&B, says: “After a slow start to the quarter gross mortgage lending rose in August to an estimated 27.5bn – one of the highest figures on record.

“All types of lending increased but the most marked was remortgaging as thousands of borrowers came off the cheap two-year fixed rates of 2003.

“We also saw a quarter point cut in base rate in August in a bid to revitalise the economy and the flagging high street. But many lenders had already factored this reduction into their deals so the change had little effect on the products offered.”