HSBC to pilot equity release

HSBC this month will pilot a brand new service, the HSBC Equity Advance Service, in conjunction with a specialist provider, In Retirement Service.

This new service aims to test the appeal of Lifetime Equity Release products among HSBC customers where they meet the banks selection criteria and it is appropriate for their particular needs. HSBC is currently the only major UK bank testing this type of product.

The pilot will start on March 24 2006 and HSBC will write to approximately 200,000 HSBC customers to introduce them to IRS through the new HSBC Equity Advance Service.

Customers must be 70 or over and own a home worth at least 70,000. The pilot will also involve 50 HSBC branches where staff can introduce customers to the pilot service if this type of product is relevant for the customer.

Dennis Smith, head of life pensions at HSBC, says: As the bank which last year gave its customers over 140m in value through new and re-priced products, it should come as no surprise that HSBC would seek to explore the appeal of lifetime equity release amongst its customers.

Recognising how sensitive lifetime equity release is we are embarking on this pilot having spent a great deal of time considering every possible aspect of this sector, particularly making sure that our customers get the best possible advice available. As such, we have teamed up with In Retirement Services which has built its reputation on providing safe, secure, and relevant advice – in fact we know only one in five customers who enquire about lifetime equity release with IRS make it through their stringent application process.

Ged Hosty, chief executive at In Retirement Services, says: HSBC is the first major bank to enter the lifetime equity release market, and their decision will improve choice for customers by bringing equity release to the high street for the first time.