Internet Insite

Mortgage Strategy\'s weekly guide to what\'s hot and what\'s not on the web. Kevin Paterson takes a look at lender websites, working his way from A to Z

I start this week in Cumbria where The Penrith lends fresh meaning to the word parochial. Not only is there no recognition of the intermediary sector and the whole web revolution seems to have passed it by, but like many regional lenders it bizarrely restricts its LTV to 75% for properties outside Cumbria. The underwriters should get out more. The website barely qualifies as a brochure site. Meanwhile the Platform site is a dream. Loads of functionality and a well thought through process for the intermediary, even if it is owned by one of the broker market’s least popular lenders, Britannia.
Preferred is in between the two but closer to Platform than Penrith.

The Penrith
This barely makes it as a brochure site and shows contempt for the strength of brand building, functionality and customer service powers of the internet. As a small regional lender based in Cumbria, The Penrith punches above its weight with some of the products it has available but has a distinctly parochial outlook. There is no intermediary recognition, virtually no functionality and all half dozen pages look the same and have no interactivity at all. The site is little more than a promotional leaflet with limited design flair. The parochial theme is perpetuated with an LTV restriction of 75% for properties outside Cumbria, though why these pose a bigger lending risk is a mystery to me.

Platform listened to the intermediary sector it serves and as a result recently launched its clickdecision site. It is clear, simple and easy to use. Platform is well aware of the needs of the broker market and has come up with a winner. You can produce accurate KFIs and carry out a binding DIP that can be converted to a full application later and if your client’s circumstances are subsequently confirmed as different to the initial DIP, the system will automatically cascade the application for you. As a broker, the site does pretty much all I need but as Platform is the intermediary face of the Britannia and obviously committed to the sector, I’d like to see an end to the dual pricing that persists by providing access to some Britannia products via Platform.

This specialist lender has clearly invested in its web offering, and like most lenders in this niche who rely on the broker sector it tries to tick all the boxes. The site is clean and clear, the KFI and AIP are available online though the AIP is underwritten manually so takes a while to come back due to the specialist nature of the products. As Preferred principally deals with packagers it expects to have its cases packaged, which essentially means you will have to get accredited. But there’s plenty of information to help you with this including a valuer panel and packaging guidelines. The site is functional and unfussy, even if it is a bit plain. And for a specialist sub-prime lender the rates aren’t bad either.33,614 registered users can’t be wrongnational sales director,