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UCB unveils product enhancements

Even more borrowers will now benefit from UCB&#39s flexible features, including overpayments, underpayments, payment holidays and drawdowns. These features can help borrowers fit their mortgage around their lifestyle. For example, borrowers can overpay each month and redeem their mortgage early or even stop payments for a set period if they want to ease their financial burden. The flexible features are available on flexible tracker, fixed rate and buy-to-let products.

Homebuyers will now be able to obtain a Homebuyer Valuation Report in addition to the standard mortgage valuation report. This is an option which provides customers with more in-depth information on the state of repair and condition of the property, together with an opinion of its open market value. Fees for the Homebuyer Valuation Report vary according to property value.

A flexible advance facility will be made available on all flexible tracker mortgages, which enables borrowers to draw on additional funds, up to a pre-arranged limit, within 3 years of taking out the mortgage. The flexible advance replaces the current credit reserve.

Borrowers will now be able to choose a mixture of fixed and tracker rates within a single mortgage, thereby balancing their exposure to rate changes.

Borrowers will now be able to secure a fixed or tracker rate mortgage, by paying a £75 reservation fee at the time of application. This means that borrowers will not miss out on the rate they want even if interest rates change.

Charles Reed, UCB Home Loans managing director, says: “We have listened to our customers and taken this opportunity to enhance our products by making them more flexible and more user-friendly. The flexible features will be particularly beneficial to buy-to-let investors, who may choose to access the drawdown facility when they incur maintenance costs.

“Our exceptional financial results show that there has been an increase in the amount of self-cert and buy-to-let mortgage business that we have conducted this year, but the systems we have put in place have enabled us to still deliver excellent service. Our key targets such as providing the majority of offers with ten days, for example, have been maintained throughout the year.”


ARLA clarifies definition of B2L

While clarifying the definition of buy-to-let eight years after its inception, Robert Jordan, president of ARLA, says it is a private enterprise that fulfils the social need for choice in housing. He adds: “It is about fair returns and quality accommodation, not get-rich-quick schemes.” John Heron, chairman of the ARLA buy-to-let panel and managing director […]

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Speaking at the Mortgage Strategy Live conference in Manchester yesterday, Richard Fox, compliance director at The Mortgage Code Compliance Board says that, based on his experience, very few cases have got as far as FOS and few will in the future. He told delegates: “There is very little for FOS to deal with. We have […]

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Japan Economic Insight

James Dowey, Chief Economist, and Paul Caruana-Galizia, Economist

The conventional wisdom is that following a roughly 50 per cent rise in the stock market in 2013 in Yen terms, the Japan trade is over and done*. So the story goes, those big gains were due to a one-off boost from quantitative easing (QE) and a depreciation of the Yen — policies that one should think of as a palliative to Japan’s economic weakness, but not a cure. Rather the cure, and by implication the necessary condition for a longer-term investment case, is deep structural reforms — a painstaking re-weaving of Japan’s economic and social fabric, no less. The story continues: this is a much tougher test than launching a blast of QE, and one that prime minister Shinzo Abe, although well intentioned and well supported by the public thus far, is likely to fail. Stick a fork in Japan, it’s done…continue reading


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