More lenders must evolve to compete


I don’t think anyone was surprised to see Barclays’ fantastic lending results which were released recently, with it doing £20.6bn in the first nine months of the year.

When I look at our spread of mortgage business for 2010, Woolwich has taken a huge chunk of our business and this is down to its offset pricing and common sense underwriting.

When I shared this gem with my team they reflected on how much Woolwich had improved during the credit crunch as pre-2008 it was average at best.

Although there will be sceptics who say this was only because it didn’t take any government money as the market collapsed, I still believe it was brave to get these results.

Woolwich persevered with an unpopular funds rationing and booking process and this helped maintain lending levels.

It introduced a cancellation fee of £150 on all loans to cover costs on aborted deals and some of the most bizarre interest-only rules to protect exposure.

But we have all had it drummed into us that we need to evolve to survive and it’s good to see a lender that has definitely embraced this mantra doing well.

NatWest Intermediary Solutions recently cottoned onto this philosophy and is now competing hard with Woolwich for our business.
This leaves just one unanswered question going into 2011 – when will the other lenders evolve to compete?