So Argos is comparing the market, with supposedly links to thousands of brokers. Does this mean the applicant will be forced into completing the application form using a tiny little pen?
Will people have to press a few buttons, just to see if Woolwich have any mortgages in stock? Then once your application has gone through, will you have to wait for ages before someone in a brown overcoat comes out to say whether your mortgage has been accepted or not?
Now I am sure I am doing Argos a disservice. But I am fed up with copy-cat comparison sites. Yet this site isn’t really comparing mortgages to be frank.
Their main mortgage page is no different to a best buy table in the Sunday papers. Then you can seek advice from mortgage adviser by filling in a form. That sounds good for brokers. So I tested the site, using a range of postcodes, however the same broker’s name came up each time! Was that the cookie, or something more sinister?
Whilst Tesco offers a greater threat, Argos’ system should not be dismissed and I don’t think this is good for mortgage brokers, apart from those that get business from it that is.
Therefore, brokers need to fight back. They need to remind themselves, and their clients (existing and prospective), about their skills and expertise that such systems simply do not offer. They must differentiate themselves and add value and clearly communicate their offering. They just need to remember that they have been comparing the market for years.
Furthermore, they can compare parts computers cannot reach, such as service and underwriting criteria. So it is a case of beware but not afraid.
Finally, I must apologise for anyone who gets a call from my tests!
Jeff Knight is managing director of Tonic Marketing Solutions.