Most clients still opt for face-to-face advice

Most mortgage customers still prefer to deal with an intermediary or a member of staff in a branch despite an increase in the use of the internet to research options.

Although lenders are doing an increasing amount of business online, with some now operating solely via the internet, most customers still seek the reassurance of completing a mortgage with face-to-face interaction.

Several high profile lenders have axed branches this year in a shift of operational focus, but customers still have a wealth of choice as they can go direct to a lender, use a financial adviser or arrange a mortgage online.

Bob Young, managing director of Capital Home Loans, says: “There is nothing other than anecdotal evidence that people are buying financial services through the internet in any great numbers.

“Many people look at products on the internet, but then want to talk the deal through face-to-face with a real person.

“High street branches have a place as long as they make life easy for their customers and build their sales process around the clients and not themselves.”

Paul Fincham, spokesman of Halifax, adds: “Which channel consumers choose usually depends on the product they are after. Products such as sub-prime usually require the intervention of an intermediary.”