HSBC refuses to include brokers in ambitious 2009 lending drive

HSBC will continue to shut brokers out of its offerings in 2009 despite increasing its mortgage lending by just over 17%.

The lender is looking to lend up to £15bn next year – almost double the £7.8bn it loaned in 2007.

If it hits the target it would constitute a massive increase on the £12.8bn it loaned this year and see the bank’s market share increase from 4% to at least 5%.

But a spokesman for HSBC says it will continue to distribute business direct.

He says: “We do not plan to sell our products through brokers and IFAs at this time.

“We want to retain the same sales process and the connection with our customers and we have no desire to change this position.”

Robert Sinclair, a director at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says: “If HSBC is looking to pursue the kind of approach where it almost doubles what it did last year, surely it should give some thought to using brokers to help it grow.

“The question needs to be asked as to why HSBC doesn’t want to use brokers. AMI will ask the bank next year.”

Andy Pratt, chief operating officer at Alexander Hall, says the chances of HSBC boosting its market share without using brokers are remote.

He adds: “It is hoping the current situation will play into its hands, with a limited number of lenders and brokers losing out on their share of completed mortgages.

“But most brokers would agree that HSBC is going to find life difficult without them. It should entertain the idea of using a limited panel of distributors.”

Pratt says that although the lender’s Rate Matcher deal initially secured HSBC a substantial amount of business, the bank did not retain all the customers it gained.

He adds: “Brokers picked up an awful lot of clients from HSBC who weren’t satisfied with its customer service. It will find it difficult to boost its lending by appealing to the direct market again.”