Scottish Widows has removed a website link to London & Country’s homepage following broker gripes that the link unfairly gave L&C an advantage.
Until recently the ‘mortgage’ tab of the lender’s website featured a sidebar that gave consumers the option of either contacting a mortgage broker on Unbiased.co.uk who may “charge a fee for their service” or going to L&C (see screenshot below left).
One broker said the explicit mention of L&C was unfair to the rest of the intermediary market.
He said: “Clients, I feel, would take the impression that by the wording used that they’re endorsing L&C over and above any other broker. If they want to be seen as impartial, there shouldn’t be a L&C logo there at all.”
London Money director Martin Stewart says the mention to L&C gave the fee-free broker a “commercial advantage”.
He adds: “I don’t agree with it. In the same way that brokers shouldn’t have lenders’ logos on their websites, lenders shouldn’t have brokers logos on their websites.”
Mortgage Strategy understands that some brokers complained to Scottish Widows about the L&C logo, which has been on the lender’s website for around three years.
The lender has now removed all mention to L&C (see below right), though it says this is not due to brokers complaining.
A Scottish Widows spokeswoman says: ““We regularly review the way we signpost customers to intermediaries and have recently updated our website to reflect the outcome of our review.”
An L&C spokesman says the logo was never part of a commercial deal and that it did not give the firm any business advantage.
Instead, he says the L&C logo was first introduced as the lender wanted “consistent and reliable service that can deal with any volume”.
He adds: “They also had an Unbiased link there, and we were an alternative option. I think Scottish Widows are very clear that this was a case of ‘go and see your adviser.’ L&C was an option, but there were lots of other options as well.”