Don’t waste your time using Halifax for unusual cases

From Gary Payne

I was interested in the letter from Jason Simpson (Mortgage Strategy June 12) who has been having problems with Halifax.

I have recently done a transaction with Halifax and the experience was as bad as having teeth pulled, but over a protracted period.

A question arose about lending into retirement and to enable my client to meet the lending criteria, the term of the mortgage was increased, taking the client into retirement. All pension details were provided as requested. The client had the best pension available – a government final salary scheme.

The case went to underwriting on a couple of occasions and each time I was expecting it to be signed off for the offer. But on the third occasion the underwriter wanted information about the government basic pension entitlement which would have taken weeks to provide.

At any rate we were now several weeks into the application and I was holding on for as long as possible, bearing in mind that this was a first-time buyer purchase with no chain.

I had to call a halt to all this and contacted Standard Life Bank which discussed the case directly with an underwriter. Within 20 minutes I was given approval to proceed and the mortgage was offered within the week.

During the whole process I was led to believe that at no stage was there going to be a problem. The loan would have been nearing the end of the term of the repayment mortgage and there would have been sufficient funds from the pension lump sum to virtually repay the whole mortgage.

The mortgage would have been reviewed to ensure the mortgage was changed and the pension quote did not take account of promotions. In any case, being a final salary scheme the final benefit is based on a formula.

If you have any slightly unusual cases, do not use Halifax as it is impossible to get confirmation at the outset. The bolt comes at the end of the process after you have already wasted your client’s money on unnecessary valuation fees.

Needless to say I had a further case which had already been dipped with Halifax but as it was not a straightforward transaction this loan was placed elsewhere so I could move forward with confidence.

Gary Payne Pavilion Financial Planning Shoreham by Sea West Sussex