Market watch 07 April 2008

Swaps inched their way down last week but this had no effect on the race for the worst buys.

  • One-year money is down 0.12% at 5.49%
  • Two-year money is down 0.14% at 5.13%
  • Three-year money is down 0.13% at 5.07%
  • Five-year money is down 0.09% at 5.05%

Last week was probably the busiest ever for rate pulls, applications for which needed to be in by close of business on the same day. What would have been a crime against brokers and borrowers six months ago is now an accepted part of life.

This is not anti-Treating Customers Fairly, it’s just len- ders trying to ensure they can keep lending. At least we haven’t seen any lenders cut their proc fees so far but I doubt this is far off.

I struggled to find any good news last week. The problems in the credit market are now so extreme that even if the Bank of England is prepared to pump in vast sums of money, it won’t help banks and societies lend any more to mortgage clients.

Financial institutions have an in-herent mistrust of each other at the moment.

I wish all len-ders were as honest as Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners and supplied processing timescales.

In a recent rate withdrawal, RBSIP revealed that it is taking 15 working days to assess cases submitted after March 20. This should mean that brokers don’t give it urgent cases. These are the sort of cases brokers chase, which gives lenders less time to process them.

Cheltenham & Gloucester would have won villain of the week but I thought awarding it this accolade two weeks in a row would be unfair.

C&G managed the rare feat of repricing on Thursday March 27, Friday March 28, Monday March 31 and Wednesday April 2. Is this a record? The trackers were withdrawn on Thursday and my email arrived at 5.22pm with a deadline of close of business that day.

On Friday, the term trackers were withdrawn and the mainstream and buy-to-let ranges were simplified. My email arrived at 5.53pm with a close of business deadline.

On Monday, the email announcing that day’s withdrawal didn’t arrive until 6.11pm. All of C&G’s Access, Assist and offset products were withdrawn and its fixed rate plus range was repriced, as were its mainstream and buy-to-let ranges. The new maximum LTV for new-build properties is 80% for residential deals and a cautious 65% for buy-to-let.

Wednesday’s email repriced the sub-£50,000 range and the range above £1m. So another quiet week dealing with C&G.

It was sad to see Lehman Brothers’ two brands Southern Pacific Mortgage Limited and Preferred Mortgages stop lending. This will make it harder for the remaining sub-prime lenders to continue. I wish Lehmans’ staff all the best.

Wanted – a good home for Mark Blackwell. Blackwell has worked his way round most of the mutuals and now seems to be doing his best to do the same with banks. Can’t anyone employ the man for longer than a year? I’m sure he will shortly be appearing in Homes and Gardens magazine, showing off his wonderful lawn.

Well done to Abbey which is hoovering up business at an amazing speed. Unlike some of its opposition, it doesn’t seem to be having any service issues.

This is an excellent achievement. Gone are the days of Shabby Abbey – it’s more like Fabby Abbey now.

Monday was probably the busi-est day for product changes I have ever known.

I lost count of the number of lenders that repriced but they included Bank of Ireland, Accord Mortgages, RBS, Astra Mortgages, Bank of Scotland, Woolwich, Co-operative Bank, Kensington Mortgages, Scottish Widows Bank, Dunfermline and C&G.

And most of these applications needed to be in by close of business the same day. Easy, eh?