Woolwich clarifies position

Woolwich has defended its decision to contact brokers’ clients directly if they need more information on a case.

Jonathan Cornell, technical director at Hamptons Mortgages, attacked Woolwich in Mortgage Strategy last week for doing this. But since then, Woolwich has confirmed that it only contacts a client if a broker has missed off something vital from an application form, such as a client’s date of birth.

Cornell says: “The original email did appear to say that it was contacting the clients for information if it could not get in touch with a broker. But now it appears it only contacts the client if the broker has filled in the form incorrectly, which is brokers’ fault so they can’t complain.”

A spokeswoman for Woolwich says: “We contact the client only if there is information that the broker has missed off the application form. The only reason we do this is to make the service we deliver as efficient as possible.”

It was also announced last week that Optoma will no longer include Woolwich on its lending panel.

Woolwich has been a prime lender with Optoma for a number of years. But the number of applications with Woolwich has fallen significantly over the past 12 months.

David Levey, finance director of Optoma, says: “We are currently undertaking a review of our lending panel and believe that with the improving technology-based solutions in the prime sector it will become even har-der for packagers to add value to this sector.

“This led to our decision, as we do not feel we can generate the volume of Woolwich business needed to justify the resources required to keep Woolwich as a full member of our panel.”

Optoma now has 15 leading lenders on its panel, including recent arrival Swift.

A spokeswoman for Woolwich says that Optoma has moved away from a prime business model to become more focused sub-prime business, which is why it took its decision.