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B&W scraps in-house plan with £26m buy

Mortgage bank Bristol & West has scrapped plans for an in-house mortgage advice infomediary and instead bought ailing business-toconsumer website Money extra for £26m.

B&W&#39s plans to become an intermediary were detailed exclusively in Money Market ing in June when it was revealed director of marketing Martin Palmer had step ped down to develop an advice arm codenamed ABco.

B&W parent Bank of Ireland then paid £110m the following month to buy IFA Chase de Vere, which it says was part one of its plan to provide independent advice thr ough an integrated online, telephone and face-to-face operation.

But, Palmer says ABco had been developing its own portal in conjunction with Moneyextra until the consumer website and brand came up for sale.

Palmer says the in-house portal development had got to the stage of specifying the system, which will now be one of the support services that B&W is contracted to buy from Moneyextra&#39s business-to-business operation.

B&W concedes the struggling website would have been unlikely to survive as a stand-alone internet operation but it says the chance to buy an operational website was too good to miss. Moneyextra chief executive Martin Palmer says: “This was not always the route that we would have taken but Moneyextra has an established level of brand awareness with a fantastic volume of monthly users who continue to come back.”

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