The Mortgage Mole

Digging the dirt in the mortgage world

We woz robbed
Mole was sitting pretty at the Alliance & Leicester quiz last week, and quietly confident that the Mortgage Strategy crew AKA Team Mole were in with a good chance. After all, they were in good spirits and with their thinking caps on. A&L’s Merhdad Yousefi purposely gave Team Mole the wrong answers throughout the quiz in an attempt to put them off.

And perhaps it worked. When asked what is A&L’s cheapest fixed rate mortgage? Team Mole was convinced the answer was 4.89% (as was A&L’s own top product man Jeremy Claridge) only to find out shock horror that they were wrong and the answer was 4.74%.

What a fix
Delegates at the European Mortgage Federation conference in Brussels last week got a lesson on the dangers of customers not reading their Key Facts Illustrations thoroughly. Speaker Anish Shah, director of global mortgages at GE Money, told his audience about his experience of getting a mortgage in an unnamed country. Following advice, he opted for a fixed rate at 7%. However, on reading the paperwork he noticed an odd clause. “The lender retains the right to change the rate at any time,” it said.

So he immediately took the issue up with his broker.

“Oh, you want a fixed fixed mortgage,” came the reply.

It’s enough to make any brokers make their clients swot up on the finer details of their mortgage. Still, could have been worse. Might have been with City Mortgage Corporation.

Hot stuff
FSA spokesman Robin Gordon-Walker revealed a saucy side last week at lunch with news editor Robert Thickett and new hack Lee Jones. After talking about interest-only loans and the state of the housing market, the conversation turned to the new Bond movie.

Both Thickett and Jones agreed that Daniel Craig makes an impressionable 007. But on asking Gordon-Walker his feelings, he admitted he hadn’t seen the film and had no intention of doing so.

“I can handle the sex,” GordonWalker fessed, “just not the violence.”

COMM-UN-IC-ATE, COMM-UN-IC-ATE, COMM-UN-IC-ATE. That’s the message visitors to PR gnu John Wriglesworth’s offices will get should they happen to drop into the property market maestro’s palace.

And yes, for once, this is true. The Wrigler has splashed out on one of BBC TV’s favourite Dr Who Daleks to “man” his reception desk. But rather than EX-TERM-IN-ATE the message is to COMM-UN-IC-ATE.

“It cost a small fortune,” Wrigles confessed to Mole. “But by God is it worth it. Imagine the look on clients’ faces when they come into the office and see a Dalek. Priceless.”

And definitely chea-per than your rates too.