More 2 Life back in business as it prepares to launch lifetime deal

More 2 Life, the specialist lending arm of Key Retirement Solutions, has re-entered the equity release market with funding from insurer and annuity provider Partnership.

The company intends to launch a lifetime mortgage distributed exclusively through advisers and specialist brokers which offers enhanced terms for clients with medical or lifestyle impairments.

The provider withdrew from the lifetime mortgage market in September 2008 and left the equity release sector in May 2009 when it stopped offering home reversions.

The deal between Partnership and More 2 Life will cover up to £250m worth of mortgages to be originated by More 2 Life, with the lifetime product set to launch at the beginning of June.

The initial rate ranges between 6.99% and 7.49%, and the deal is available at higher LTVs for customers with medical or lifestyle impairments. Clients can protect a level of equity in the property for their beneficiaries.

The product is available to customers with medical problems including heart conditions and high blood pressure, as well as to smokers.

The minimum initial cash release is £15,000 while the minimum further advance is £10,000. There is also a minimum property value of £70,000.
Both Partnership and More 2 Life are members of equity release trade body Safe Home Income Plans and say the product complies with SHIP’s requirements.

Andrew Megson, managing director of retirement at Partnership, says: “We are delighted to be working with More 2 Life on this exciting product.

Newcastle to axe four branches in restructure

Newcastle Building Society, the UK’s eighth largest mutual, is planning to make 126 redundancies and close four branches as it looks to cut costs and streamline the business.

The job cuts come as part of a wider company restructure involving a capital strengthening programme which was completed on May 10.

The branches to be closed are in Crook, County Durham; Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees; West Road, Newcastle and York.

Job losses will be concentrated within back office and management roles, with the company saying it wants to maintain its current number of customer-facing staff.

But Newcastle says that it will also be looking to create around 80 customer service vacancies at its Strategic Solutions division which handles financial services outsourcing, following a recent contract win.