Consumer credit rating agency Experian is to buy a 25 per cent stake in one of the UK's largest mortgage brokers, London and Country (L&C).
The move, which is still subject to regulatory approval, will see Experian join forces with the 'fee-free' mortgage broker, to "speed up" the broker's "digital transformation".
It is the first time a specialist mortgage adviser and a global information services group have done such a deal.
L&C’s chairman Mike Edge will remain the majority shareholder, with a significant portion of equity remaining with L&C’s management and employees.
David Hollingworth, associate director, communications at L&C, said: “We have developed a digital journey so far which has been under rigorous testing and is live on the website now. We are looking at how we use digital to help improve the options and range of choice for customers.
“We have all the heritage of fee-free advice, but we also feel we are in the thick of digital transformation in driving more efficiency in the process and making access to that more straightforward, so people can deal with us as and when they want but be able to flip between the digital journey and advisers.”
Mr Hollingworth said the tie-up would not affect the independence of credit checks carried out when processing mortgage cases.
He said: “We do not undertake credit checks on a case. We will continue to be submitting business through all sorts of different lenders who will have different processes.”
He added: “In terms of how we take things forward, we have been clear we wanted to look for a minority investor and that will help us accelerate and improve processes.
“The hope will be that we can take things on and not just maintain our position at the forefront of the market, but also consolidate it.”
Clive Lawson, managing director of Experian Consumer Services, said: “We’re excited about the potential of this partnership and the opportunities we see to work with L&C to improve customer experience in the UK mortgage market.”