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

Bit of a disappointing review this week. I had high hopes with a couple of the big names on the list but surprisingly they were let down by basic errors. MPLC’s well hidden site has limited functionality and for some reason there is a LifeQuote facility in the intermediary zone. I can’t see that getting a lot of use. National Counties prefers to trust its customers more than brokers by restricting access to its online functionality to the customer-facing side of its site, leaving brokers with a fax back Key Facts Illustration facility. The Nationwide site was disappointing as, aside from the excessive levels of security for the most benign information, it looks like it has been done on the cheap.

Mortgage PLC
It took me a while to find the mplc website. Any site with the word ‘mortgage’ in it seems to be linked to all sorts of broker lead generation sites. There’s even a cheeky site called Mortgage plc which has nothing to do with the mplc I was looking for. The site is simple and clicking through to the intermediary zone gives access to a Key Facts Illustration generator. Disappointingly there is no facility to process either a DIP or application online. Instead you are directed at a PDF download to fax back, albeit with published service standard turnarounds. Helpfully, on the intermediary homepage you can apply for a life assurance quote via LifeQuote, but quite why any intermediary would want to is a mystery.

National Counties
A deceptively simple website with a clear intermediary link. But for brokers there is little functionality, which is surprising given the range of competitive products available from National Counties. The KFI looks promising but though completed online, you are presented with the confirmation that a KFI will be faxed to you – no idea when although. Continuing the theme, there is no online DIP or application facility and National Counties again relies on the fax to provide this information. All this is typical of small mutuals but what is doubly disappointing is that the National Counties has a KFI and application facility online on the consumer-facing side of the website. It obviously feels brokers can’t be trusted with this facility.

A little disappointing that there is no intermediary link from the main Nationwide website but once I got over that I found a dedicated intermediary site. It is comprehensive but there are a few minor irritations. For example, you have to register twice – once to obtain KFI and again to use the MTE to apply online, being told the details need to be identical – but then the questions you are asked are in slightly different formats. I duly registered and tried to obtain a KFI for which the site insists on a ridiculous level of security, but could not get past the entry screen as it kept coming up with an error. I’m sure it works just fine. The other problem with the functionality is that Nationwide insists you go via the MTE for online applications.