BM Solutions and BoS desert specialist sector

Competition in the mortgage mar-ket was dealt another body blow last week as BM Solutions and Bank of Scotland announced their with-drawal from the self-cert and sub-prime sectors.

BM Solutions has also tightened LTV criteria across its new-build and buy-to-let product ranges.

Andy Pratt, chief operating officer at Alexander Hall, says the knock-on effects of this decision will reignite the debate on compe-tition following the merger between HBOS and Lloyds TSB.

He says: “Talk to virtually any broker and they will tell you that as much as 45% of their business went to HBOS or Lloyds TSB in the past year.

“The problem is that we now have Lloyds TSB’s conservative lending strategy being imposed on HBOS. This directly affects consumers.”

Pratt is urging the bosses of Lloyds Banking Group to be trans-parent about the future direction of the super-bank.

He adds: “We need some clarity over brand strategy and to understand Lloyds Banking Group’s appetite for lending.

“What’s next – Cheltenham & Gloucester pulling out of the buy-to-let market?”

Nationwide subsidiary The Mortgage Works is now one of the few lenders catering to the specialist market.

Tracie Pearce, head of products at TMW, says: “Some of these criteria changes will simply bring BM Solutions and BoS more in line with the rest of the market.”