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Marketwatch

Even the euro issues have taken a back seat in the news for the time being as Lie-borgate (see what I did there?) rumbles on with the Bank of England and various politicians being dragged once more through the mire. Barclays has proved that Diamonds are not forever and other high profile leavers include the chief of the much maligned Money Advice Service.

Whether or not borrowers have been disadvantaged by the rate fixing remains to be seen but it has further harmed the already fragile public trust in banks.

This will undoubtedly have an impact where customer choice is concerned, with some looking to deal with smaller, local building societies or independent brokers they have more trust in.

As intermediaries, it is important that we do not just jump on the banker-bashing bandwagon and remember that this should not cloud judgement on the mortgage lending side. The intermediary sales teams we deal with are decent, professional and want to do the best for the consumer.

In the markets, swap rates have been tweaked upwards while Libor has continued its slow but steady fall.

Three-month Libor is down 0.02 at 0.88 per cent.

1-year money is unchanged at 0.775 per cent
2-year money is up 0.02 at 0.97 per cent
3-year money is up 0.02 at 0.99 per cent

5-year money is up 0.04 at 1.245 per cent In product news, it was disappointing to see ING Direct succumb to the pressures of the current environment and become the latest lender to increase its SVR from 3.5 per cent to 3.99 per cent. This is still cheaper than many lenders but continues the worrying trend.

Bank of China has also increased its lifetime tracker rate from 2.48 per cent above base to 2.68 per cent above base.

Abbey has brought in its procuration fee changes to a mixed response which I guess is to be expected. While the idea of linking quality to payment is not a new one or indeed a bad one, it will be interesting to see how this develops.

The word quality can have various interpretations and I hope this is not used as a way of slowly cutting proc fees across the board.

Skipton continues to impress with the news that for a limited period it will waive the application and completion fees on its two, three and five-year fixed-rate remortgage deals to 75 per cent and 85 per cent LTV.

On the buy-to-let side, Kent Reliance is changing its rental calculation to 125 per cent coverage at 5.5 per cent, up from 5 per cent.

Finally, it was good to see that Masthaven Property Lending has obtained authorisation from the FSA for regulated mortgage contracts. It is refreshing to see another lender in this space pass an FSA visit with flying colours.

Heroes & Villains

Hero of the week
Precise Mortgages, which continues to lead the way and push boundaries in the market as well as being a tireless campaigners on behalf of intermediaries

Villain of the week
The worrying growth of the lease option market. This seems to be a reincarnation of the sale-and-rent-back sector and should be looked at closely by the regulators.

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