National Sales Director
Park Row Associates
It amuses me that the adverts for ‘the world’s local bank’ refer to understandingthe local marketin which it trades but, with breathtaking irony, they ignore the intermediary community that is responsible for more than 60% of mortgage applications in this country’s lending market.Meanwhile, Intelligent Finance follows the well trodden good review path of all HBOS company websites. The site is all you’d expect it to be – even if it is purple. By contrast, the Ipswich cannot make up its mind whether or not to engage properly with the broker community.
HSBC does not work with intermediaries so it’s no surprise its website is entirely customer facing. As you’d expect from one of the worlds largest banks, the site is comprehensive, the products are mediocre and, worryingly, it is still selling pension mortgages at a time when the rest of the financial services community has recognised they are not a good idea to support a mortgage. The customer can get an AIP online, including a Key Facts Illustration, and cleverly when quoting the mortgage payment the customer is also given comparable quotes for buildings and contents, life cover and income protection. Lenders may be rubbish at selling but we could all learn a lot from the way banks such as HSBC give themselves a chance.
Resplendent in its trademark purple livery the IF website is
everything you’d expect from a broker-centric online lender.
The customer-facing side of the site is clear and easy to
follow but falls into the classic trap of using broker jargon by making references to KFIs and LTVs with no clear
explanation of these terms. The link to the professional
advisers’ site is prominent on the home page although I
would like to see some sort of password as the public can
easily access this side. The firm’s FSA number or the
broker’s pin number would be simple solutions. All
information and documentation is available as is an online
KFI and online submission, although IF tells me most of its
business is still done over the phone. Congratulations IF.
I know Ipswich deals with intermediaries but there is no sign of a broker website. But tucked away under the mortgage link on its customer facing site is a page dedicated to brokers. My heart sank when I saw a list of PDF downloads that were available including an AIP and application but my faith was partially restored when I found the online KFI facility which is clean, quick and easy to use. Useful for unusual deals such as shared ownership, local authority housing, flying freeholds and flats above shops Ipswich is not a lender that usually comes up on our radar. But with a little extra work on the website and a higher profile more universal proc fee, Ipswich could get much more business.