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Last week’s pre-election hush on the market was broken by a due diligence milestone for Exact, a puzzling product email from Nationwide and some mixed news from Lloyds group

Swaps increased for the second week in a row. Three-month LIBOR is up slightly at 0.66%.

1-year money is unchanged at 0.93%
2-year money is up 0.05% at 1.71%
3-year money is up 0.03% at 2.24%
5-year money is unchanged at 2.97%

What a quiet week. It feels like all the lenders are simply treading water until the election is over.

While a three-horse race is more interesting and exciting than a two-horse one I wonder how on earth the Liberal Democrats’ new prospective voters have failed to notice the party for the past few decades. It hasn’t been that badly ignored by the press.

Well done to Exact which has now passed £5bn in mortgage due diligence. In these days of brokers trying to diversify it just goes to show what a business can do when it looks at what other things it can do with its skills.

It would have been easy to have shut Edeus and turned off the lights but all credit to managing director Alan Cleary and the team for keeping going. I’m also sure the company is well placed for starting to lend again when it chooses to do so.

I’m not sure why Nationwide Building Society sent out an email entitled ’Remortgage products worth singing about’. When I got this I spent some time trying to work out why it was linking its products with the world of song.

Surely there are more topical subjects to link a product email to, such as the election debates. How about ’There’s no debate – our remortgage products will win your vote’? But I’m pleased that Nationwide has simplified its product guide as this was previously hard to understand.

There seems to be plenty of debate as to what complex prime is and is not. Trying to precisely define the term puts it in danger of losing its true meaning. It will probably mean different things to different lenders but I am sure the specialist distributors – our former packagers – are well placed to help us find a good home for our applications.

It’s great that Lloyds Banking Group has returned to the black.

Apparently, it has seen improved conditions in wholesale funding markets and is due to launch and price another mortgage securitisation shortly.

But BBC business editor Robert Peston has reported that the lender has moved back into profit by widening the gap between what it pays savers and what it charges borrowers.

Lloyds group also has a few problems with customer complaints at the moment – in fact, the Financial Ombudsman Service has highlighted it as having more than any other bank.

I think that rather than publishing raw data the FOS should put it into context by quoting the number of clients or transactions involved.

Bigger banks will always have more complaints than smaller lenders as they have more clients I was surprised to see Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, suggesting that mortgages should be given to some first-time buyers only after they have studied for an exam.

While I think financial education has some merit I don’t think it’s a good idea to make it even tougher for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.

Plenty of people get themselves into financial problems before they try to buy their first home. In the heady days of the boom it was easy to get a 100%LTV mortgage plus other finance such as car loans and credit cards.

Instead of courses for first-time buyers it would be better to give generic financial education in secondary schools.

If you can access it, Accord Mortgages has an excellent five-year fixed rate at 4.54% for loans up to 75% LTV with a £1,900 completion fee. There are deals with lower fees but when you take into account the pay rate this looks like exceptional value.


HEROES OF THE WEEK are Rob Jupp at Savills Lending Solutions, Tony Machin at European Financial Solutions, Grenville Turner at Countrywide Estate Agents, Nigel Stockton at Lloyds Banking Group and all the other professionals in our industry who joined thousands of
other runners in the London Marathon last week. Well done for raising so much money for charity.


VILLAIN OF THE WEEK is HSBC. According to its marketing output anyone would think the lender had invented the idea of the mix and match mortgage. In fact, nearly every lender has been offering the chance to split fixed and tracker rates for years, in any proportion borrowers want.


Charity boss calls for home ownership exams for FTBs

Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service, says mortgages for first-time buyers should be sold like driving licences and applicants should have to sit exams. In a speech at CCCS’ recent annual convention Hurlston called for the Financial Services Authority to issue certificates to anyone buying their first home. He told attendees […]


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