First off I make no apologies for bringing to everyone’s attention that this week is National Apprentice Week.
If every firm in the UK took on at least one apprentice we would not have much of an issue with youth unemployment and I am sure all my colleagues at Coreco would happily confirm the benefits we have had from participating in the scheme.
This industry needs new blood as not many were joining the industry a few years back and apart from some of the excellent work done by companies such as London & country Mortgages, Countrywide and Alexander Hall in training new blood, more needs to be done. Thus endeth this morning’s sermon!
Meanwhile as we prepare for the 2013 Budget, outgoing Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King has revealed that his relationship with chancellor George Osborne is frostier than a snowman made by Jack Frost himself eating a particularly frozen snow cone by calling for Royal Bank of Scotland to be broken up. With further talk of new powers for the incoming Bank governor Mark Carney, leadership challenges and European issues adding to the chilled wind it could be an interesting time politically and economically.
In the markets, three-month libor is no fun anymore and has settled down to have kids at 0.51 per cent, whilst swap rates have fallen further against a backdrop of negative interest rate chitter-chatter.
- 1-year money is down 0.01 at 0.455 per cent
- 2-year money is down 0.02 at 0.59 per cent
- 3-year money is down 0.02 at 0.68 per cent
- 5-year money is down 0.01 at 1.035 per cent
As we all lament the demise of ING Direct, in product news there is still much to cheer and I have been inundated with positive tweets from busy brokers all over the country.
It was good to see Saffron Building Society launch a dedicated intermediary channel as well as publicising its special situations products. It has always been a good lender and Saffron’s chief executive Jon Hall, who is genuine in his aim to support brokers, has carefully assembled an excellent team.
Together with the impressive Kent Reliance and smaller lenders such as Harpenden and Furness, as well as Aldermore Mortgages and Precise Mortgages, there are some real choices out there now for brokers with cases that do not quite fit the high street.
There are new rates available on Abbey’s large loans offering with a two year fixed at 2.54 per cent and five-year fix at 3.04 per cent with £1,995 fees up to 70 per cent LTV.
Virgin Money has cut rates with its two-year fixed rate reduced to 2.28 per cent at 60 per cent LTV with a £995 fee while its five year fixed rate at 70 per cent LTV is reduced to 2.99 per cent with a £995 fee.
Coventry continues its innovation with a simple idea of one rate, 2.69 per cent, available three ways over three years. It can be fixed with no penalties, fixed with low fees, or as a tracker with a cap. Simples!
It was also interesting to see Hinckley & Rugby Building Society axing the early repayment charge from its five-year fix. This is at 3.35 per cent up to 80 per cent LTV.
Finally it was good to see Nationwide and The Mortgage Works changing its mind on providing buy-to-let loans for those with tenants on housing benefits. This showed maturity and proves some lenders do listen and are not afraid to change decisions which should be applauded. As for Bank of Ireland…
It was also good to see the Government finally cracking down on payday loans – it took it long enough!
National Apprenticeship Week. If every firm in our industry took on just one apprentice it would help make a difference to the economy and provide new blood to the industry.
Bank of Ireland again. It really is that bad and I hope all those affected come together to stop the rise and send a message to other lenders who may be thinking of following suit. Why would anyone take a Post Office mortgage after this?