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Another one bites the dust

As rock band Queen sung in 1980 with the release of “Another One Bites the Dust”, the song can now – 28 years later – aptly apply to the UK mortgage market.

Advantage became the latest mortgage firm to close its business after US parent company Morgan Stanley decided to discontinue its UK lending arm.

Brokers were only sent an email from Advantage on Wednesday afternoon which said: “Advantage regrets that due to the continuing uncertainty in the mortgage markets all Advantage mortgage products are withdrawn with immediate effect until further notice.”

Staff were not given much notice of the decision either with reports that employees were only told late on Wednesday afternoon too that it would be shutting up shop with immediate effect.

In a statement issued to the stock exchange, Morgan Stanley said that around 1,000 employees in the UK and the US will be affected by a restructure of its residential mortgage business.

Morgan Stanley US residential business director Anthony Meola said: “Given the continued dislocation in the mortgage markets, we have restructured our residential mortgage business to ensure we are appropriately positioned for the environment going forward.”

In terms of Advantage, the lender told brokers that deadline for cases to be submitted ready to offer is February 15 and the final date offers will be produced is February 22.

It says that offers will be honoured if completion occurs within the 90 day validity period but Advantage will not in any circumstances extend offers beyond the 90 day period.

So Morgan Stanley will no longer have a presence in the UK mortgage market. Advantage will join other mortgage firms Victoria Mortgages, The Mortgage Lender and Black and White by disappearing from the UK shores.

The decision by Morgan Stanley will lead to even further speculation on how much longer other US investment banks such as Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers will hold on for before they take a similar decision and “Another one bites the dust”.

If you have any comments then please email me at tanya.powley@centaur.co.uk.

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