HBOS unveils plans for charm offensive

HBOS is planning a major charm offensive over the next 12 months that will see BM Solutions pay advisers for further advances, TMB attack the packaging market through new products and better proc fees and Bank of Scotland concentrate on the high net worth lending market.

These plans were revealed by Nigel Stockton, director of HBOS intermediary mortgages, to Mortgage Strategy last week.

Intermediary business now accounts for some 70% of all new business coming through the HBOS group and Stockton, still smarting after the departure of the Famous Five from HBOS earlier this month as well as The Mortgage Business’ Fab Four, was quick to outline his plans for the group’s future direction.

Plans for the next 12 months for BM Solutions, TMB and Bank of Scotland include higher LTV lending, better products and more focus on high net worth individuals, as well as BM Solutions paying proc fees on further advances.

Halifax will continue to be the group’s mainstream lender and Intelligent Finance will still drive its push into the offset market.

Stockton says he is looking closely at higher LTV lending such as Northern Rock’s 125% Together mortgage. If marketed, this could only be through the BM Solutions brand. This is the biggest hint yet that BM Solutions will launch a product giving borrowers access to extra cash, a move some consumer pundits will deem outrageous as it could be beyond borrowers’ financial means.

And in a telling remark, Stockton says: “I’ve a lot of time for Northern Rock. I like what it’s doing in terms of product pricing and ERCs.”

Stockton says BM Solutions is also looking at verifying products on sourcing systems. It already verifies products on Mortgage Brain and whether this will extend to taking responsibility for the accuracy of product data submitted remains to be seen.

Stockton says: “We will always examine ways to make brokers’ lives easier. Sourcing system verification is one of many areas we’re looking at.”

Packagers account for 5% of BM Solutions’ introduced business and while Stockton says there are no plans to cut this, neither does he rule out increasing it.

TMB has been refocussed under new management and Stockton predicts that with the likes of the popular Peter Charge as sales director it won’t be long until TMB and HBOS reaffirm themselves as the packagers’ friends.

Charge says: “Over the coming months TMB will be looking to enhance its distribution strategy and relationships.

“We have strong relationships with many packagers and want to boost this by the end of the year. Providing service and support to packagers is key to TMB’s vision. We’re seen by packagers as the sleeping giant of the industry.”