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Equity release to lead revamp for Woolwich

Barclays is planning to launch Woolwich into the equity-release market as part of a massive upgrading of its product range.

Barclays and Woolwich head of mortgages Richard Saulet says the firm is looking at a package of propositions across equity release, buy to let, first-time buyers, the sub-prime market and buying in Europe.

Saulet says Woolwich is looking at ways to target first-time buyers by creating products around their lifestyles in the way that Barclays has recently offered customers free subscription to Sky sports channel.

Barclays itself is also looking at the equity-release market, with Saulet arguing that customers are now more likely to be equity-rich and advisers and customers are displaying interest in this product.

Saulet says: “Although this is at the early stage, we are looking at this very heavily. We have made it clear that we are not chasing market share but creating a value-based business and packages with value-added features.”

Key Retirement Solutions business development director Dean Mirfin says: “We have seen no big entrants to this market this year. With the announcement on taxation, the first part of next year will be an advantageous time to enter the equity-release market.”

Hamptons International Mortgages IFA Jonathan Cornell says: “I would hope they will look at processing and the relationship they have with intermediaries which at present they do not seem to take very seriously.”

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