Santander’s decision to merge its Alliance & Leicester business with its Abbey brand has disappointed brokers.
From October 15 all broker business will come under a single Abbey brand.
Alan Mathewson, managing director of intermediary distribution and Santander Private Banking (UK), says the decision was taken to allow the bank to align its offering and increase efficiency.
He says: “Our priority is improving service and focussing all our resources on a single brand will help us achieve this quickly.
“We believe the integration of our broker offering will allow us to become the intermediary lender of choice.”
The move will result in the closure of mortgage and lending operations in Wigan where 52 people are employed. Staff will be offered redeployment to the Bootle site.
Andrew Montlake, partner at Coreco Group, says the move makes sense for Santander.
But he adds: “It’s a shame that customer choice has been reduced. It will be interesting to see what criteria Abbey adopts from A&L because the latter’s products included some features that were popular with brokers.”
David Hollingworth, mortgage specialist at London & Country, says: “It’s sad to see the demise of the A&L brand but there was an element of inevitability about this move.
“A&L offered some flexible products and time will tell if these are adopted into the Abbey range.”
He adds: “Abbey is working hard to raise its service levels and has made great strides recently. Hopefully, the merger will help with this.”
Dan McGeehan, direc-tor at Seamless Mortgages, says: “I’m disappointed that A&L is closing its doors. It has made some excellent products available in the past 12 months, as well as offering good criteria.”
New A&L mortgage applications at less than 75% LTV can still be submitted until October 15.
Abbey is offering an additional 0.02% for all new Abbey business placed between August 5 and October 31 this year.