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B&B scraps panel for specialist focus

Brokers critical as Bradford & Bingley moves back to DSF operation

Bradford & Bingley has returned to a direct salesforce operation and is closing down its panel of 18 lenders.

The bank’s mortgage broking service will be shut down but all pipeline business will continue to completion.

The 300 sales staff in the branches will be retrained as a direct salesforce.

B&B says it will focus on specialist lending, including buy to let, self-certification and lifetime mortgages.

The bank will return to selling its own-branded mortgage products exclusively through its branch network and says its commitment to intermediaries and brokers through Mortgage Express will continue. Mortgage Express recently hit the 20bn mark for specialist lending.

B&B branches will continue to offer savings, general insurance, protection and loan products through its tie with Legal & General.

But the move has attracted criticism from advisers, with some suggesting that the firm could be seen to be reneging on its professed commitment to the intermediary channel.

Hamptons International Mortgages managing director Kevin Duffy: “What a turnround. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they had men in bowler hats promoting advice and when the going gets tougher, they have compromised their principles.”

Purely Mortgages chief executive Mark Chilton says: “I am surprised at the announcement that they will only be focusing on specialist and buy to let. What about the mainstream? Surely, if a lender of this size concentrates on the sub-prime market, it could have an adverse effect. I am not sure what it says about their model.”

But B&B managing director Mark Stevens says: “We are firmly committed to growing our business with brokers via Mortgage Express. The buyto-let market is supported by both landlord and tenant demand. As self-employment becomes more common and job flexibility increases, more customers need to consider self-cert products.”

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