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Internet Insite

Apologies to Scarborough, Clydesdale and the Ulster this week. Unfortunately a problem at the MS printing press meant the star reviews did not turn out properly. So, this week, we&#39re reprinting our page from last week, hopefully complete with star rankings.

As I said last week, they may not be the biggest lenders in the UK but each has something to offer.

From next week we&#39re changing tactics and I shall be checking out websites of mortgage intermediary firms on a town by town basis.

So if you want your firm to be included and don&#39t think that I&#39m likely to find your website using an internet search engine, or if you think you can pick up a five-star ranking, send your website address to me at

Scarborough Building Society

Although fairly small in the grand scheme of things, the Scarborough is an interesting company as it owns Specialist Mortgage Services, a third party administrator offering outsourcing solutions covering mortgage portfolio management and new business processing as well as other services.

The website is pleasing to the eye and mortgages get a look-in right from the start with the flexible base rate tracker promoted on the homepage. All products, including a rare 10-year fix, have click-throughs to get to the details and there&#39s a good glossary of terms to go with them. But it&#39s a pity that the request for full product information is tucked away almost out of sight below the small print – perhaps it doesn&#39t like to send the information out.

Clydesale Bank

Clydesdale Bank has been part of National Australia Bank since the late 1980s and it has a similar website set-up to other members of the NAB group. There&#39s no intermediary-specific section so intermediaries have to use the home loans pages within the personal banking area of the main site. At least the pages are easy to get around with the main index across the top of the screen and a full navibar down the left hand side.

Current account mortgages are at the forefront of their product portfolio but you have to be serious about your interest before attempting to download the illustration calculator as this takes around 10 minutes on an average PC. Still, information elsewhere is clear enough.

Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank is part of RBS group with operations in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. The mortgage section in the personal banking part of the website claims Ulster can do “fast mortgage approval without a song and dance”. I&#39ll be interested to hear if it fulfils that promise. There&#39s no song and dance about the mortgage webpages though. The mortgage products are clearly laid out in one table with click-throughs for the detail, although the description of the flexible mortgage is too wordy. There are the usual budget planner and costs checklists plus a quickquote facility that comes back with payments calculated across the whole product range for easy comparison. The jargon buster is good too.


The Woolwich increases SVR by 0.25%

The Woolwich has increased its standard variable mortgage rate by 0.25% to 5.79%. The increase applies to The Woolwich and Barclays standard variable rates and will not be effective until December 1 2003. Openplan offset which is guaranteed to track the banks base rate for the lifetime of the mortgage &#45 bank base rate plus […]

We must make borrowers aware of the risks of self-build

Ricky Okey, general manager, Charcol. The self-build market, although considered a specialist market, is actually popular with pretty much anybody. There are no typical self-build lenders or specialists but some stand out from the crowd. In the selfbuild specialist category BuildStore is in a league of its own and has pretty much cornered the market. […]

Blonde ambition

Bristol-based mortgage network Whitechurch is hoping to win over intermediaries by sending them this cheeky postcard over the next fortnight. The saucy seaside postcard, pictured here for the first time, features a scantily clad cartoon lady whose assets are just about covered by a swimsuit daubed with the word &#39fees&#39. A mortgage broker nearly falls […]

Compliance system to help packagers

Personal Touch Insurance and em Financial claim to have developed a compliance model that could secure the future of packagers without affecting profitability. The model, called &#39the box&#39, is said to offer a complete training and compliance package to individual introducers, small networks or a packager while ensuring the ability to retain 100% of any […]


Neptune video: UK economy: a sustainable recovery?

After years of a slowly brewing economic recovery, the UK has seen a strong rise in growth in recent months. Mark Martin, manager of the Neptune UK Mid Cap Fund, discusses the strength of this recovery and whether it is sustainable.

In the video, Martin addresses the following:

• Structural features supporting the UK economy
• UK mid-caps and the potential for M&A activity
• Valuations and opportunities in house builders


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