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HBOS will make its push into the equity-release market through either its Halifax or Bank of Scotland brands, says intermediaries managing director Nigel Stockton.

The giant lender had been widely expected to offer products through its specialist brands of BM Solutions or The Mortgage Business.

But the bank has delivered a blow to the equity-release market by insisting that it is in no hurry to launch into the market.

The UK’s biggest mortgage lender revealed earlier this year that it plans to move into the sector and it had been anticipated that its entry could come this year.

Stockton would not set out a specific timeframe for the launch other than to say that it would not be this year.

Nationwide revealed earlier this year that it will be will another two or three years before it enters the equity-release arena as it fears that the market could suffer misselling problems.

Stockton says: “On equity release, we will not be in a hurry and we will research the market. When we launch, we want to be number one.”

In a separate development, HBOS moved to reassure brokers that the group would no longer directly contact customers introduced by brokers to try and sell them general insurance products if the broker sells home insurance or payment protection cover.

The pledge comes two weeks after HBOS’s intermediary GI unit was merged with its mortgage business. It is offering brokers commission to introduce GI business to HBOS where it does not sell such products.

HBOS GI head of mortgage intermediaries Jon Craven says: “What we did was a major source of irritation but that has changed.”

Alexander Hall chief operating office Andy Pratt says: “Not contacting customers can only be positive as it sends the message that brokers are important to HBOS.”


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