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First Direct halts new lending

First Direct has suspended new lending after applications soared to five times their normal volume.

The lender says the suspension means it can focus on processing the backlog that has built up in recent weeks. Chris Pilling, chief executive of First Direct, says: “We have seen unprecedented demand for our mortgages since January thanks to our competitive pricing and the decision of other lenders to raise their rates.” Drew Wotherspoon, spokesman for John Charcol, says: “First Direct’s pricing has been around 0.5% better than its rivals recently. Many borrowers wanting two-year fixed rates will have ended up at its door, so this move was on the cards.”


Halifax to launch FTB range on Monday

Halifax will launch on Monday a dedicated range of products for first-time buyers, quashing rumours that it was set to mirror First Direct and suspend lending. Products on the first-time buyer range will include a five-year fixed rate deal at 5.69% at 90% LTV.Although the UK’s biggest lender has also revealed that it will now […]

Packagers fear FSA scrutiny could prompt cuts

Fears have arisen that the Financial Services Authority could start to look more closely at lenders’ distribution models, which could force some to reduce their panels.John Rice, managing director of the Regulatory Alliance of Mortgage Packagers, says: “I believe the FSA will start to look more closely at lenders’ distribution and monitor how closely lenders […]

Deposit scheme disputes are rare

A tenancy deposit scheme has recorded just 341 disputes among its 200,000 accounts. says the 200,000 figure represents more than £177m worth of deposits protected by some 31,000 landlords and letting agents.

Recording sickness absence cover - thumbnail

White paper — recording sickness absence

The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions illustrate that sickness absence is still a major cost to businesses, with an annual bill for sick pay and associated costs to employers of £9bn. This paper from Jelf Employee Benefits looks at the importance of recording sickness absence for any employee health strategy and how this can be carried out in an efficient manner to reduce absence, improve employee engagement and drive up profits.


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