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Market Watch: Broker watchwords should be value and service

As I sit slumped over the laptop writing this on the morning after the excellent Mortgage Strategy Awards, trying to recall just exactly what I said to the great and the good of this marvellous industry (as well as trying to type as quietly as possible), the haze clears just enough to remember a night of contrasting emotions.

It always gives me a warm, buzzy feeling to see so many good people, passionate about what they do and trying to make a difference in their own way to a pretty fine industry. It is a place very different to the one painted in a certain Guardian article that has already had too much attention, referencing the return of “commission-hungry salesmen” sitting on easy street and banking wads of cash for retaining business and doing nothing.

If this ill-conceived notion is what we are up against, then we must work doubly hard to make sure all our clients know what value for money, great service and professional advice they get from brokers such as ourselves. It is not a time to back down, though I do at least agree that 0.2 per cent for product transfers is not right. Here, we have to do more work, not less – it should be a full proc fee.

In other news, Brexit (No not Legsit, that was obviously a headline from the 1950s) is here and the letter has been signed and delivered that invokes Article 50.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England has announced a review into whether banks and building societies’ lending criteria has become too loose where credit cards and unsecured loans are concerned. This after it has been reported that these debts are growing at the fastest rate for 11 years. With calls to debt charities also increasing rapidly it does seem like something needs to be done.

In the markets, three month LIBOR is still at 0.34 per cent, whilst SWAP rates have barely vacillated.

2-year money is up 0.01% at 0.66%
3-year money is up 0.02% at 0.76%
5-year money is up 0.01% at 0.93%
10-year money is up 0.01% at 1.27%

Santander has refreshed its new build proposition and is launching a neat two-and-a-half-year fixed rate product priced at 1.39 per cent to 60 per cent LTV with a £999 fee. It also comes with a product completion deadline of 29 December, meaning it can be tailored to customers buying a property that will not complete until this winter.

Leeds Building Society is after the remortgage market with new products with free valuations and legals, plus a £750 cashback. The fee is £199 and rates are at 2.2 per cent fixed for 2 years up to 80 per cent LTV and 2.4 per cent to 85 per cent LTV.

Scottish Widows will now accept bonuses and cash as repayment strategies for interest only, while  Family Building Society has kept its promise and now pays retention proc fees for product switches and further advances.

TSB will now take into account the full amount of teachers TLR and doctors banding payments. These income types should now be keyed in as additional duty hours.

New Street is celebrating the release of the new £1 coin by conveniently reducing valuation fees to, yep, you guessed it, £1. It has also reduced rates by up to 0.7 per cent and has a new rental cover calculator with stress rates from 125 per cent. I also like its one-year fixes, or two-year fixes with only one year’s tie-ins.

Vida has cut its two-year tracker, two-year fixed and five-year fixed rates on buy-to-let products by up to 0.60 per cent and reduced the revert to rates, while The Mortgage Works has reduced some two-year fixes now available from 1.74 per cent to 65 per cent LTV and 1.99 per cent to 75 per cent LTV.

Meanwhile, Metro Bank will be changing its interest cover ratio from 140 per cent to 125 per cent at 5.5 per cent for Ltd company and LLP borrowers as well as reducing a swathe of rates on its Portfolio BTL range.

Finally, the Treasury has rejected an appeal for rental income alone to be taken into account as proof of mortgage affordability. It did say that a whole range of things should be taken into account which is right, but in marginal cases this could be a good swinging point

Andrew Montlake is director at Coreco

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