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Categories:Advisers,Regulation

Natwest MoneySense advisers pushed own loans

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Leah Milner
NatWest's MoneySense advisers promoted the bank's own mortgages on two out of five occasions when mystery-shopped by Money Marketing despite the bank advertising the service as "impartial" non-sales advice.

In marketing literature, NatWest advertises the service as "completely focused on helpful guidance" and "not linked to endorsing or selling products".

But when Money Marketing visited five London-based Money-Sense advisers, the reporter as twice offered a quote for a NatWest mortgage.

On the first occasion, the reporter mentioned saving a deposit to buy a house without requesting information on any products. The adviser volunteered an illustrative mortgage quote from the bank's website, a brochure on NatWest mortgages and the phone number for its own tied mortgage advisers who only sell NatWest products. She offered a quote for a NatWest two-year fixed rate at 4.84 per cent.

It was only at the end of the session when asked how they could be sure that the mortgage was the cheapest on the market that the MoneySense adviser mentioned shopping around.

In a second branch, the reporter asked where they could find out more about getting a mortgage. The adviser responded by quoting the same NatWest two-year fixed rate at 4.84 per cent.

In three other visits to NatWest branches, the advisers offered impartial advice and made clear they were not allowed to promote the bank's own products.

A NatWest spokesman says: "The advisers provided further information only after your reporter insisted they get a mortgage quote immediately.

"Both advisers pointed out the need to shop around for a suitable mortgage and at no time tried to sell a product. Nevertheless, we will be addressing this as a training issue."

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