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Network mergers will be limited

Some pundits are talking about networks being crunched, with only half a dozen large firms remaining by the end of next year.

I disagree with this extreme position. My guess is that around five or six network mergers will take place in the next 12 months.

A number of networks – especially small to medium-sized ones – are operating in a comfort zone. They have no intention of selling up and are content to carry on as they are, despite the tough market conditions.

Meanwhile, among the networks that will look to sell up, some will stubbornly cling to unrealistic prices only justifiable by business volumes achieved in 2007. But those days are now behind us and they are unlikely to return for years.

So I predict half a dozen mergers in 2009. As the largest mortgage network we will play our part in this, taking advantage of cost-saving opportunities.

Are we about to enter an era of lenders taking stakes in mortgage distribution channels including networks, clubs, packagers and business-to-consumer intermediaries?

Precedents are few and far between and largely confined to medium-sized building societies and centralised lenders. Not all of their experiences have been satisfactory.

If anything, we are more likely to see life companies continuing to take an interest in channels that can secure them more life and investment business.


PPI complaints to FOS top 25,000

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service says it has received over 25,000 complaints relating to the sale of payment protection insurance since January 2008.

Abbey offset conditions concern customers

The BBC has today been reporting about Abbey withdrawing borrowing facilities from some customers with an offset mortgage, which Abbey call a flexible mortgage.

Why your clients need some tough love

In any relationship that matters, professional or personal, you should be upfront with someone if you think they’re making a decision or doing something they might later regret. Being honest with someone and having their best interests at heart, however hard the message, is key to building trust in any relationship. So how does this […]


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