View more on these topics

Internet Insite

My round Britain tour of broker websites has arrived in Birmingham this week.

There are three quite different approaches to websites in my selection. The mortgage choices offering starts well but like many websites doesn&#39t carry this early promise through the site. And the advertising links, presumably there to create a bit of income, just get in the way and damage the overall effect.

Emerald Finance has a simple site but misses the opportunity to create a strong impression, while National Guarantee has the content and the looks but fails with its interactivity.

If you want to recommend a broker website for me to include in my reviews, email the website address to me at

mortgage choices

Mortgage choices states that it is there to &#39give you the very best and totally impartial advice&#39 but it&#39s difficult to find evidence in the website to support this assertion. Yes, there is basic information on mortgages but little that speaks to the brand proposition. The protection guide is better but it is supplied by Paymentshield. There might have been an opportunity to use the Frequently Asked Questions to hammer home the message but there are only five and they don&#39t give much by way of answers. It seems to be more concerned about selling advertising space to companies such as Lakeland and Carphone Warehouse than building a website that satisfies the needs of prospective customers. And someone needs to learn how to use apostrophes.

Emerald Finance

Here&#39s an example of a compact site, and I do mean compact. There are just three pages which certainly makes the site easy to use. Each page has the same left hand border with the same photo of a grinning adviser plus contact numbers (no email address?). The homepage doubles up as &#39about us&#39 and sets out the company&#39s stall. The text could do with being rewritten in better English but it&#39s not as bad here as it is on the &#39enquiries&#39 page where Emerald tries to explain about data protection and credit searching. OK, I know it&#39s a small site but in many ways that should make it easier to get a strong, simple, message across. Still, it does know how to use the word &#39free&#39 – in capitals and bold!

National Guarantee

I expected to be impressed by National Guarantee&#39s website but came away disappointed. It scores well for content with the &#39about us&#39 section driving home the message about creating individually tailored solutions, a downloadable guide to non-standard mortgages and a section on &#39how we can help&#39 which takes you through National Guarantee&#39s mortgage process and which actually works better than the rest of the site. But I kept coming up against a blank. There are well-designed flows that lead you to an online DIP form – there&#39s even a link to the form off the homepage (&#39apply now – click here&#39) and from the navibar – but no form appeared. Zero points for interactivity. At least the contact telephone number&#39s always on-screen.


Heritable Bank launches limited tranche of self-cert and buy-to-let deals

Heritable Bank, the specialist mortgage lender, is launching a limited tranche of three-year fixed rate funding for self-certification and buy-to-let mortgages. Rates of 5.99% fixed until March 1 2007 are now available for LTVs of up to 75%. A rate of 6.24% is available for LTVs up to 85%. In addition to these, Heritable Bank […]

FOS staff paid extra to cope

A BBC exposé of the Financial Ombudsman Service has revealed that the complaints handler is paying its staff bonuses to close cases quickly as it struggles to deal with an influx of claims. Radio 4&#39s Money Box Investigates, aired last Tuesday night, revealed FOS staff are given targets and paid bonuses for closing cases. The […]

Exclusive: Bankhall poised to buy Norwich Union mortgage club

Speculation is mounting that Bankhall is to buy Norwich Union&#39s mortgage club, bringing its total intermediary base to around 40,000. Although both Bankhall and NU refused to comment on what they say is market speculation sources believe the deal is definitely going ahead and its announcement is imminent. Such a deal would put Bankhall in […]

London Scottish Mortgages appoints management team

London Scottish Mortgages has appointed a management team ahead of its planned relaunch at the Mortgage Business Expo in May. LSM&#39s team will be led by Kevin Cooke as head of secured lending, with Martin Coates assuming responsibility for sales and marketing activity. They replace the previous directors, Mike Rashman and Carl Montlake, who have […]

10 September thumbnail

Johnson Fleming set to hold auto-enrolment support webinar

Two years since the process of auto-enrolment began, the looming re-enrolment deadline provides the perfect opportunity to assess whether the support you have in place, which may well have been hastily selected at the start, is fit for purpose. Johnson Fleming is holding a webinar on 10 September at 11:00 to discover the key issues and concerns you should consider when thinking about your current support options.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up