by Mark Johnston
The Post Office steps up in the mortgage market.
With trust in the major high street banks is at an all time low, it seems that the Post Office is hoping to build its presence as a financial service provider.
According to analysts the Post Office is one of the fastest growing financial service providers in the UK.
The Post Office has stepped up its bid to become a top 10 lender, it has offered mortgages since 2009, it has now announced a pilot scheme to have mortgage specialists with in it s branches so customers can speak directly to them.
At present customers can only apply either online or over the phone for a mortgage with the provider, but the new service will allow them to reach those borrowers who still prefer to have their options explained to them face to face.
Taking out a mortgage is one of the most important fianacial decisions consumers have to make and finding the right one can be a complex process, the Post Office says this is one of the reasons they are introducing their specially trained mortgage specailists in order for them to assit their customers through the process.
Under the pilot scheme 7 mortgage specialists will initially be available in 5 branches, but hope is that the number of specialists will eventually reach three figures. If the scheme proves to be popular it will then be rolled out across the Post Office’s 11,800 strong network.
Mike Cook, head of Post Office mortgages, which are part of a joint venture with the Bank of Ireland, said that the provider “wants to build on its reputation as a trusted brand”.
The mortgage specialists are however only authorised to tell customers about Post Office products and they can not make any recommendations about which products are suitable for customers.
The Post Office has stated that if the Mortgage Market Review comes out and it says that all face to face reviews must be advised, then they will change their model accordingly.
Customers will be able to find out how much they can borrow and they can view different products and repayments. They will also be provided with a printed approval in principle and have the opportunity to submit a full mortgage application under the new plans.
The provider offers more than 20 mortgage deals made up of 2, 3, and 5 year fixes and 2 year trackers with varying interest rates and fees.
Some of these mortgage products regularly feature in the best buy tables, such as their 4.29% 5 year fixed rate deal for 80% loan to value (LTV).
The Post office is already a significant player in the mortgage market and therefore many experts believe they are likely to pick up more customers with their new straightforward ‘assisted sale’ approach.
On top of this new pilot scheme the Post Office is also cutting its mortgage rates by up to 0.4% on its fixed rate products and it is to reduce or remove the arrangement fee on certain products.
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