Internet Insite

Mortgage Strategy\'s weekly guide to what\'s hot and what\'s not on the web. Jeff Sutherland-Kay checks out the websites of brokers, lenders, mortgage clubs, mortgage networks and packagers

It’s good to see brokers are beginning to update their websites following regulation – quite a few ‘temporarily offline’ messages. But there are still too many referring to the MCCB and the Mortgage Code – Double 00 Mortgages from this week’s set of three is a case in point. But at least Double 00 has got its act together as far as site navigation is concerned. It’s too easy to get lost in some websites and not find a route sideways or even a route through. This week’s threesome, by the way, all have bases in Norwich. If you want to recommend a particular broker website for me to review, email the website address to me at

The Money Centre
The Money Centre describes itself as “The UK’s leading website for online buy-to-let and commercial mortgage information, quotations and analysis” – a big claim which one or two firms might want to challenge. And tucked away in the site is a comment from a specialist industry magazine describing the firm as: “The Harrods service of buy-to-let mortgages”. Certainly there is a good deal of relevant and useful information that speaks to the customer proposition, including informative news items and links to other helpful websites. But the content needs sorting out. Navigation is not as good as it should be and while the generic product explanations read well, their repetitiveness detracts from the impact. And talking of impact, why isn’t that Harrods comment blazing from the homepage?

The Mortgage Bureau
The Mortgage Bureau, with several offices in East Anglia, has ‘Your One Stop Mortgage Shop’ as its proposition. But there’s little in the website to substantiate this. The mortgage section is made up of two pages: a step-by-step guide and a glossary. The text that goes with each step in the guide is revealed as you roll your mouse over the numbers. Step 1, about getting an AIP, includes a rather premature reference to the Seller’s Pack. Step 5 covers the solicitor’s role – reduced to barely two lines of text, which should make the firm’s customers wonder what they’re paying for. It’s all too simplistic. To find any information, you have to delve into the glossary but even here it’s all rather thin and not particularly well written either.

Double 00 Mortgages
Double 00 is part of Guernsey-registered Independent Finance Corporation, in turn part of Central Trust. Its promise is “real choice and real peace of mind from a company you can trust”. The main customer types (first-timers, remortgagers etc) are summarised well and I began to feel the firm’s promise could be fulfilled, despite the absence of product information. Indeed, it was all going well until I used the drop-down box headed ‘past credit problems?’ expecting click-throughs to reassurance for customers with CCJs, arrears etc. But there was nothing more than a link to the online enquiry form – a shame as testimonials would have worked well. Still, the site looks good, navigates well and there’s a reasonable set of FAQs.