“Dual Pricing does not breach TCF” -but what about treating brokers fairly?

“Dual Pricing does not breach TCF” -but what about treating brokers fairly?


A number of complaints by brokers have been recorded regarding allegations that high street banks, in particular Halifax, have been offering customers direct rates that are not available to the intermediary allegedly in a bid to reduce the amount of business transacted through brokers which is currently 85%. 

One broker said this of a high street lender giving better rates to direct customers: “I came across this by chance when a client who is very good with the internet and searched a mortgage prior to our appointment and found a rate that he thought was great, on discussing the options I agreed that this was a great product and said I would arrange all the paper work, however when I researched the market the product was not available, I queried this with the BDM who advised that they did in fact have different rates for direct customers.”

When asked to comment on the matter, Halifax said: "Halifax remains committed to the broker channel and believe that the vast majority of consumers prefer the choice, advice and service of a broker. This can be verified by the fact that we have not seen a material change in our split of business between the broker and direct channels over the last 12 weeks."

Despite this denial from Halifax, many brokers are feeling the effects of dual lending. The climate is tough enough for intermediaries, as the numbers of mortgage approvals being rejected is on the rise, and this move by the major banks is another blow for brokers who make their living selling mortgages. There is also a case to be made in terms of TCF as many consumers benefit from the impartial advice given by an intermediary rather than an in-house high street lender advisor.

The FSA chief executive, Hector Sants, told the Building Societies' Conference in Manchester that dual pricing is not against TCF. He commented that lenders were not obliged to use intermediaries and that it did not breach FSA regulations to offer customers better direct deals.

Many brokers have wholeheartedly disagreed with this stance, and many raise the point that the intermediary channel is being hugely disadvantaged as well as the consumer. In a market where mortgage approvals are already hard to come by, the dual lending trend makes it virtually impossible for brokers to offer customers the best deal available to them.

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Lucy Trueick



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