Blackandwhite.co.uk is believed to be on the verge of signing a single- tie distribution agreement with Mortgages PLC.The mortgage broker, which has 28 lenders on its panel, has been in talks with just four of these about a possible single-tie deal. But MPLC is believed to have beaten off competition from GMAC-RFC, igroup and Money Partners. Although no equity is involved for blackandwhite.co.uk the deal will represent massive cost savings in terms of both compliance and marketing. Thomas Reeh, chief executive officer of blackandwhite.co.uk, says: “We are close to an agreement and the choice has been narrowed down to two lenders. It’s a close thing and we are down to the last details.” Only last month MPLC revealed it was planning to launch a direct to consumer lending arm by the end of this year. Mortgage Strategy understands that this is still the case, whether the blackandwhite.co.uk deal comes through or not. Peter Beaumont, deputy chief executive of MPLC, says: “We’ve been working closely with blackandwhite.co.uk and if it decides to choose us we will be delighted to work with it.” MPLC parent Merrill Lynch is hoping to increase its share of the UK mortgage market, drawing on its expertise and MPLC’s. The US investment bank is also thought to be funding Michael Bolton’s September launch into the mortgage market.