Internet Insite

Mortgage Strategy\'s weekly guide to what\'s hot and what\'s not on the web. Kevin Paterson takes a look at lender websites, working his way from A to Z.

A mixed bag of mediocrity this week. The intermediary face of Portman, The Mortgage Works’ website only does half a job. Just when you think you are going to get all you need you realise that it just talks a good story. There is an online Key Facts Illustration and the Portman site seems to enable online applications but it was down for maintenance when I checked. And that’s it for functionality. NatWest goes to great lengths to hide its broker site but I found it. All functionality there, as you’d expect, but the site could do with jazzing up and it really needs to streamline a painful registration process. Newbury is turkey of the week. It is like watching paint dry minus the excitement – no functionality, no documents, no use.

The Mortgage Works
www.themortgageworks.co.uk
The broker focussed arm of Portman has a disappointing site considering the size of the group. First, I had to register to gain access to the online KFI. Nothing unusual in that except I couldn’t register online and had to wait for someone to register me and let me know my log-on. Once I had this I was able to access the online KFI that was then emailed to me, but there is a long list of exceptions of what the KFI will not cover.

Once again the application is a paper download. The Portman site seemed to have an online application but it was closed for maintenance and only available to the public.

Plenty of useful document downloads and the product details are comprehensive but that’s about it.

NatWest Mortgage Services
www.natwestintermediaries .com
Once again a financial services behemoth that pays only lip service to the intermediary sector. Sure, NatWest has an broker site but finding it is difficult. There is no link from the main site or even an inkling that a broker section exists. I had to look to Trigold for the web address in the end.

Once you’re in the site you have to register. This is a bit long-winded and you have to involve your NatWest business relationship manager which is a drag. But you can be in a position to proceed within half an hour. The site lets you do applications in principle, KFIs and applications all online. These can be done either via the NatWest site or by MTE. Apart from that, the website is functional, simply laid out and uncluttered.

Newbury Building Society
www.newbury.co.uk
The Newbury site is very simple. It has information on the main range but no intermediary site at all and no online functionality. In fact, it’s so lacking in anything useful that I struggle to find anything to say about it.

It’s plain dark blue on white and the layout is like a brochure minus the marketing expertise so you get bored quickly. It becomes clear early on that the site is next to useless for brokers. You are depressingly aimed at the branches for more information such as a KFI or an agreement in principle. This is more of a surprise when you consider that Newbury advertises on local radio which, for a small mutual processing around 100m of mortgages per year, is quite progressive.