Astra to take off as N&P’s intermediary brand

All of Norwich & Peterborough Building Society\'s intermediary business is to be transacted via its Astra brand from 10 March.

Astra, which has been focused on buy-to-let business, will offer a new mortgage range that will, in a radical development, provide the opportunity for introducers to achieve lower pricing than its current product offering – and this at a time when other lenders are increasing the cost of borrowing.

This will be achieved by leveraging the lower capital requirements that the society has achieved under Basel II. N&P was the first organisation in Europe tobe granted an internal ratings basis waiver under the Basel ll Directive by the Financial Services Authority.

This new model provides the ability to ensure that Astra products are priced more competitively for low-risk customers across prime, light adverse, and buy-to-let.

A major part of the brand expansion will be the launch of online point-of-sale decision-making which will enable brokers to offer customers a confirmed rate within 15 minutes. The broker and customer can then go on to complete a formal application knowing that the rate they were quoted will be the rate they will get.

John Malone, managing director of PMS, said: “At a time when many lenders are withdrawing products and curtailing innovation, it’s pleasing to see that Astra Mortgages is bringing to the market a very innovative and much sought after system in the mortgage proposition to the intermediary sector.

“As a lender N&P was the first to achieve Basel ll accreditation and accordingly, because of its reduced capital requirements, it is able to not only price for risk but also create more attractive products in the intermediary sector.”

The brokers that will benefit most from N&P’s online point-of-sale decision-making process will be those with a low-risk customer base as they will be eligible for the lowest rates. A major feature of this system is that lower risk borrowers may obtain a better than advertised rate.