View more on these topics

Internet Insite

Interesting thing, design. What works for some people can be complete anathema to others. And this week&#39s three websites from the West Midlands show just how different things can be. In the middle of the road is Oak Tree Mortgages of Shirley with a design concept that flows from the company name – and it works reasonably well too. At one end is Futures Mortgage Centre of Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, with a modern design that also flows from the company name. At the other end is Smart Moves of Sutton Coldfield. Smart? No. Drab? Afraid so. If you want to recommend a broker website for me to review, email the website address to me at

Smart Moves

Too much grey makes this all look rather dreary. And it needs to sort out the photos – too many styles. But the proposition on the homepage is reasonable enough: “…with unbiased advice, we take the gamble out of choosing…”. And having all the lenders scrolling through gives the statement a certain credence. The index of financial services is not great, with its occasional odd language (when was the last time you heard a customer talk about &#39effecting&#39 a mortgage?) and a concern to sell life assurance rather than explain what a repayment mortgage is. But the page on remortgages has some useful information. And if the majority of the firm&#39s clients come through recommendation, there should be testimonials.

Futures Mortgage Centre

With a website address so close to a certain lender, there could be scope for confusion here. But not when you arrive at Futures&#39 site. The initial page has little but the mission statement which includes the commitment “to provide the BEST (Futures&#39 capitals) mortgage to suit our clients&#39 requirements”. It&#39s a big promise that gets little support through the rest of the site. It also says that most of its business comes through personal recommendations but there are no testimonials to support this, while the mortgage services are just a list. So not many stars for content. But there are contact and enquiry forms and the design is rather smart – pity that the linked site for Futures Estate Agents doesn&#39t come up to the same standard.

Oak Tree Mortgages

There&#39s quite a lot to this site. It opens with an oak tree from which acorns fall off to form the bullet points of the firm&#39s proposition – it may be twee but it works nicely. Navigation generally works well with a main menu and sub-menus. And there are links to various insurance engines to get quotes, although the &#39find a mortgage online&#39 link didn&#39t work. The main message is “unbiased professional mortgage advice” and to prove it, the pros and cons of the main mortgage types are explained (alongside graphs that don&#39t add much value). There&#39s plenty of information behind &#39buying a home&#39 and &#39remortgages&#39, most of which is the same (quite sensibly), with a mortgage enquiry form and plenty of contact links as well.


Forrester Research to hold Financial Services forum

The main theme of the event will be keeping customers happy without breaking the bank. While business and marketing executives are struggling to understand, serve and satisfy their ever more demanding and fickle customers, IT executives are faced with outdated technology platforms and limited budgets. At this Forum, Forrester Research will mix strategic and tactical […]

Network Data launches exclusive products funded by Abbey

Details of the products are as follows: 4.64% two year stepped rate tracker at 0.11% below Bank of England in Year one and 0.49% above in year two, reverts to SVR currently 6.75%, with no extended tie in and included remortgage package. Network Data will pay 0.25% procuration fee for paper applications and 0.30% for […]

Classic Network Solutions recieve MTA letter

Ray Ronan, head of sales and marketing, says: “Not only have we received our MTA letter but we have also received the results of an independent audit carried out for the FSA and ourselves testing that our systems are fully operational and robust for M Day.  We received a clean bill of health which is […]

Weaker mortgage approvals in July

This was the highest in the series, £0.1bn higher than in June and 7.0% more than in July 2003. However, after seasonal adjustment, the rise in net lending of £5.4bn (revised) was lower than the average of £5.8bn for the previous six months. There were 210,500 loans approved in July, with a total value of […]

The investment clock

While Trump blazes blond in the political foreground, it’s easy to overlook the economic background to the new political dimension of 2017. Political risk will be a feature of the year: the unpredictable and untested Trump administration has already created uncertainty, which is unlikely to diminish, especially if protectionist rhetoric starts to outweigh promises of […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up