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Swaps continued to rise, although at a slightly slower pace than before, resulting in a frantic week of fixed rates being increased. Last week saw a number of large lenders repricing.

One-year money is up 0.05% at 5.63%

Two-year money is up 0.02% at 5.54%

Three-year money is up 0.02% at 5.52%

Five-year money is up 0.03% at 5.42%

BM Solutions became the first lender not to require a written customer signature for a mortgage to complete last week. Brokers will simply need to confirm within the One Minute Mortgage that their client has read and understood the Important Customer Information document, which should make life easier.

Just after I had written last week’s column in which I counted how many changes to its product line Northern Rock had implemented last year, it decided not to increase its rates, a week after it had announced it was going to increase them.

Why does it keep changing its mind? I don’t know of any other lender that does this. We brokers look pushy when we chase clients for applications and put pressure on them because of withdrawal deadlines for no reason. NR’s rates were on hold until January 14 (unless it changed its mind again).

I saw a recent survey which recognised the lowest lender SVR. With more lenders offering existing clients retention rates and clients being able to take out lifetime trackers or products with excellent reversionary rates this seems a bit strange as it should be our ambition to ensure no client is left on SVR. It’s a bit like recognising the healthiest cigarettes – some may be lower tar but none are healthy.

I can’t believe the FSA is trying to sort out the food industry’s disclosure documents as well as the mortgage industry’s. Oops, wrong FSA, but it is good to see it isn’t just us who have these issues. Maybe we could look at the Food Standards Agency’s ideas and have traffic lights on Key Facts Illustrations. Who knows, we could see products with green lights for rate, amber for fees and red for extended tie-ins.

GMAC-RFC launched a buy-to-let rate. It’s a base rate tracker at 0.01% below base for three years with a 1,495 fee, available to 85% LTV for purchases and remortgages and a rental calculation at 100% of the pay rate. Sadly it has early repayment charges for five years.

Well done to Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners for launching an online scheme for all its mortgage brands. I’m sure this will help it speed up its processing which was a bit slow on a few occasions last year.

BM Solutions has some incredibly good rates. Highlights include a deal at base minus 0.51% for two years with a 1,499 fee up to 90% LTV through the usual mortgage clubs. There is also a deal at base minus 0.31% for two-years with a 599 fee, available through BM Solutions up to 90%.

The lender also has a two-year buy-to-let tracker available via Mortgage Intelligence at base minus 0.11% up to 85% LTV with a 599 fee.

Halifax also launched a number of rates. The email detailing the products included some details of a five-year stepped fixed rate at 1.99% up to 90% LTV with a 1,999 arrangement fee. I’m not keen on stepped rates as clients seem to forget their mortgage will go up and are then cheesed off when it does.

Bank of Scotland also repriced its range. For remortgages there are two-year tracker rates from 4.95% and two-year fixed rates from 5.25%. Both are available up to 90% LTV with a 999 fee. For buy-to-let remortgages up to 85% LTV there are two-year tracker rates from 5.29% and two-year fixed rates from 5.59%, both with 1,199 fees.

Woolwich’s new fixed rates include a 10-year 5.24%, a five-year 5.39% and a two-year 5.44% rate. All are available to 80% for purchases and come with a fees-free package for remortgages. The application fee for all of these is 595.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages


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