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Hopeful portents despite the gloom

It was a roller coaster ride for the mortgage market last week. We went from the collapse of US banking giant Bear Stearns and its acquisition by JP Morgan Chase to traders deliberately dragging down UK giant HBOS’ price. You couldn’t make it up.

For brokers it’s been an equally turbulent time with lenders withdrawing products left, right and centre. In some cases they’ve been given a matter of minutes to submit deals or risk disappointing clients.

There was even an item on BBC’s Newsnight looking at the speed at which products were disappearing. London brokerage Capital Fortune illustrated the problem of blink and you’ll miss ’em deals faced by every broker in the country.

When will the madness end? It’s difficult to say right now with experts swinging from the near suicidal to the marginally downbeat.

But it was good to see the Financial Services Authority actively step up to the mark and hunt down the traders responsible for the attack on HBOS, which caused its share price to drop by around 18%. If HBOS goes down we might as well pack up and go home.

The market is already hurting badly as lenders tighten their belts and reduce their exposure. We cannot allow things to deteriorate any further.

Yes, brokers are chasing the proverbial white rabbit at the moment as regards the best deals for clients. But demand is still high among consumers and if anything the guidance of valued and experienced brokers has never been more essential.

As edeus reveals on page 7, the market downturn could collectively hit brokers to the tune of £625m. But people are still positive and Hamptons International’s expansion into Dubai to provide mortgage advice and the partnership between Mortgages. co.uk and MoneyQuest are great examples of this. This time of year is all about rebirth and there are still green shoots amidst the debris.

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