BM Solutions fights back after walkout

BM Solutions launched its annual money sale last week with a batch of mainstream products starting at 3.75%, in a move described by some pundits as a bid to stave off negative publicity following the high profile departure of key staff last week.

On Monday last week HBOS head of specialist lending Michael Bolton spearheaded a walkout from the group, followed by Alan Cleary, director of Halifax Intermediaries, John Nixon, director of operations at BM Solutions and The Mortgage Business, and Rob Williams and Mark Smith, head of underwriting and head of support at BM Solutions respectively. All five left to join London-based private equity firm The Oakwood Group and will launch a mini-clone of BM Solutions next year, specialising in sub-prime, self-cert and buy-to-let.

Between them the five have some 75 years’ experience in the mortgage market and combined with the financial acumen of The Oakwood Group’s Mike Culhane, they look set to take the specialist lending market by storm.

Culhane has more than proved himself on the big bucks financial circuit by orchestrating the sale of small lenders Future Mortgages and Mortgages PLC to big money corporations, and it’s almost a given this latest lender will head in the same direction – netting the ‘famous five’ and Culhane a small fortune in the process.

BM Solutions countered the move on Friday last week with the launch of several aggressive mainstream products including a two-year mainstream rate fixed at just 3.89%. Both mainstream deals are available at 90% LTV.

Halifax has typically been the channel HBOS has used for its most competitive mainstream products and the lender says BM Solutions is not impinging on its territory by offering such a deal. However, Bank of Scotland has a deal for the large loan market at 0.61% below base for two years with a 2,500 fee.

Brokers say the competitiveness of the rates is BM Solutions’ way of showing the recent departures have not adversely affected it.

Thomas Reeh, chief executive of Black and White Group, says: “This aggressive pricing may be a strategy by BM Solutions to show it is business as usual despite Bolton and Cleary departing. It’s a good way of countering doubts people might have about its firepower.”

Stephen Knight, executive chairman of GMAC-RFC, says: “Michael and Alan have shown what they can do with big institutional backing and the results have been impressive. With Oakwood, they have an opportunity to show they can do it without a big institution behind them. I think they can and look forward to the competition.”