This week in my A to Z of lenders' intermediary marketing material, I take a look at two specialists – Mortgage Express and Mortgages PLC. The comment made by Mortgage Express that it is moving away from pre-printing material in favour of providing information via downloads from its website highlights a dilemma that faces all lenders as they develop their web-based services. The quality of printed material via a download is not going to come anywhere near the quality of the material a lender can produce. Yes it's cheaper and lenders have to be mindful of costs as margins squeeze ever tighter, but they have no control over the what the intermediary-printed material will look like and therefore how both the intermediary customer and the consumer will perceive the lender.
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Mortgage Express says it's going to reduce the amount of stuff it prints in favour of more downloads from the website but at the moment there's a good range of pre-printed material available. And it's good quality material too. There's a flyer for each product (produced on heavyweight paper so it doesn't get tatty quickly) which is in an easy-to-follow format, with key features and criteria clearly laid out. The flyers are in mono with a colour band at the top relating back to the full product guide. The product guide itself covers all the rules and regs and, given the inevitable complexities of a niche product range, presents them pretty well even if having black print out of a dark colour (shades of plum) spoils it a bit. The additional criteria are partly black on white and partly white on plum, the latter combination making them more difficult to read. There's a full library of information and downloads on the website including the interest rate guide and a good range of online services. As to the 1950s photos, my 18-year-old daughter approves: “I like it, it's quirky.” She may not be quite in the target audience for the material but who am I to argue?
“Well set out and easy to read and understand. Small print is kept to a minimum,” says Wayne Lee – and as he's the underwriting manager at pure packager The Finance Centre, if the material is hitting the mark with him Mortgages PLC must be getting it right. And when you look at individual leaflets you can see why. It's when you look at the whole range of material spread out side by side – the Sutherland-Kay office floor test – that it doesn't quite gel. The Mortgages PLC logo and the ubiquitous origami people have to work very hard to pull it all together especially when faced with so many colour combinations. The Elite pack, for example, starts off well with its own variation of the origami people and lots of fancy gold print on the Synergy range leaflet but when the Elite range leaflet, with a veritable rainbow of colours, falls out of the same pack, it almost looks as though it's from a different lender. OK, the Elite range leaflet does match the standard range leaflet but if you are going to have bespoke material for a particular product range, that seems the wrong way round to me. A shame really as the rest of the support material is top quality.