Choice is a good thing, including in sub-prime

I read numerous editorials and articles every week from leading figures in the industry, and never fail to be interested in the different points of view ex-pressed in these.

I think it is fantastic that the industry is so full of different opinions and ideas.

However, I read a recent comment that I have to disagree with and I am sure I will not be alone.

Putting it simply, it was stated that there are too many sub-prime lenders in the industry and that this may be detrimental to growth in the market.

How is it that this could be such a bad thing? If we look down every high street or on any internet search engine we can see there are more competitors for every product type being sold.

Recently, when I was purchasing some items for my house I looked at numerous websites and shops to select the products that suited my measurements, my decorative tastes and my pocket.

I found the perfect items following an extensive search with lots of companies.

In what way is searching for a mortgage that different? Consumers in this day and age are increasingly astute and whether they have credit issues or not, they have a right to choose from product providers in finding the mortgage that best suits their needs.

This choice can only come through the medium of market competition, as would be the case in any industry.

The lenders that have launched recently such as DB Mortgages, edeus and Advantage have added an extra bit of competition which should be embraced.

Lenders should not be complacent and expect consumers to walk through the doors simply because there is no other choice available to them.

A product should be chosen because it is the best that can be offered.

Each sub-prime lender tries to offer distinctive services whether these be instant offers, automated valuation models, deals for unusual property types or excellent service – and in some cases all of the above.

Competition and new entrants into the industry keep everyone on their toes – including me as a packager.

I appreciate that the US has suffered in recent weeks and we have to be careful not to saturate the market and so end up with the same problems this side of the water.

When it comes to lenders in this country, the product choices available at the moment are there simply because companies are competing against each other and offering access to niche areas of expertise.

While this is happening and lenders are able to do it without it affecting their profit margins and securitisation pros-pects, consumers are benefiting. And if consumers are benefiting, aren’t we all?