Marketwatch

The trend for get-it-while-it’s-hot offers is resulting in some decent products and is a refreshing change from last-minute rate pulls, while the smaller building societies have some pleasant surprises in store

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The Paralympics opened with a big bang last week, with Stephen Hawking uttering the words we should all remember, especially in current times: “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Be curious.” And the latter point is this week’s theme – I am going to be extremely curious. Hopefully, it willnot kill this cat.

While mortgage brokers are not exactly the shy, retiring type, it is good to ask questions and understand answers, especially around reasons for rate rises, rate pulls with no notice, service issues and duel pricing. There are some valid reasons behind many of them and perhaps some not so valid. But it is our job to question, in the right way, to seek the answers for our clients.

In the markets, three-month Libor has fallen a little once again this week, now standing at 0.69 per cent, while swap rates have dipped once more.

1-year money is down 0.05 at 0.595%
2-year money is down 0.08 at 0.80%
3-year money is down 0.10 at 0.83%
5-year money is down 0.11 at 1.075%

In the soap opera which is the banking world, last week’s headlines centred around the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into Barclays and certain dealings with Quatar. The bank’s new chief executive officer Antony Jenkins has a big job to do but from what I have read, the head of Barclays’ retail and business banking division looks like a good choice for the job.

But I am curious to know how much more there is to come out from the shady days of banking. The sooner everything is out in the open the better, then banks can concentrate on getting on with their lives again and doing some proper business.

Accord Mortgage has decided to join the get-it-while-it’s-hot brigade and release 10 products available for 10 days. With decent products from 2.99 per cent, I am a fan of this kind of thing.

It focuses brokers and clients alike and you know the timescale you have to work within which is much better than the ensuing scramble when a last-minute rate pull with two hours notice happens, such as Nationwide this week.

In its defence, my curiosity believes that Nationwide has increased rates quickly in order to protect service levels. It is interesting to hear the effect rate withdrawals have on lenders and the spikes in business that can subsequently occur. While frustrating for us, sometimes lenders have little choice.

Although I would flippantly add that they could always recruit more staff, which is probably easier to say than do.

Skipton are in the news again, cutting some rates by up to 0.4 per cent across its residential and buy-to-let range.

I have had a couple of interesting meetings with smaller societies which are keen to lend, with some surprisingly refreshing results.

Suffice it to say, all brokers should be investigating working with smaller building societies.

Leeds has also slashed rates on its two and thee-year fixes and I am also hearing that BM Solutions is reducing rates but its useful and probably underused House To House Products are disappearing into the ex-product ether.

Heroes

Paralympians. Next time anyone starts moaning about the industry we should put things into perspective.

Villains

Those who continually talk down the market and the industry just to get comments out. We know things are tough but we should be careful what we talk ourselves into.