HSBC opens doors to mortgage advisers

HSBC has opened its doors to allow intermediaries to distribute its residential mortgage range, the firm’s head of assets and retail banking has confirmed.

Jonathan Byrne said the sea-change from the lender, which has traditionally used its large branch network and in-house advisers to distribute its mortgage products, was in recognition of the need to work more closely with intermediaries and make its products available more widely throughout the UK.

He said: “We are offering customers even more choice and convenience when it comes to arranging their mortgages. This is a natural step for us after the launch of our online mortgage service earlier this year, and means our award-winning mortgages will be even more widely available to people around the UK.”

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According to Mr Byrne, this service will provide residential mortgages for properties around the UK, and will be run in partnership with Countrywide Mortgage Services.

It will continue to be HSBC’s responsibility to assess customers’ affordability. Each application will be underwritten by HSBC to ensure each borrower’s individual circumstances are fully considered.

The bank will provide mortgages up to a maximum of 80 per cent loan-to-value through Countrywide.

Nigel Stockton, financial Services director at Countrywide plc, said: “We are in no doubt that we will prove Countrywide can provide HSBC with more clients for their market-leading products, and we look forward to working together.”

The industry welcomed the move. Rob Clifford, group commercial director of Shepherd Direct Group, which has worked with HSBC for more than 25 years, said: “Although it has been a long time coming, we are pleased to see HSBC recognising the importance of the intermediary market and the value that consumers see in getting impartial mortgage advice.

“Committing to intermediate is a good move for HSBC and enhances consumer choice, which the regulator should also welcome.”

Adviser view

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “This is an important step forward in the development of the mortgage market after the financial crisis and the deployment of the Mortgage Market Review.

“I have no doubt that as HSBC develops its systems it will look to increase distribution through a wider range of partners, as it has recognised the value of the professional intermediary market.”