The year of the millennium was hardly a landmark for mortgages. After a flurry of product innovation in preceding years nothing really new appeared during 2000.
The flexible mortgage continued its march towards market dominance but Standard Life Bank did not repeat their major market success of 1999. It didn't take the others very long to catch up!
Standard was responsible for the one gleam of light on the horizon, the advent of the 25-year capped rate mortgage. Why has it taken this long for a life company to catch on to using both sides of their balance sheet in harmony? Will we see the Pru dential catch up?
The big issue of the year was regulation. The Govern ment has missed a massive opportunity in its whole app roach to mortgage regulation, failing totally to protect the consumer.
That other great Govern ment initiative, the introduction of Cat standards, wins my turkey award for the millennium.
This year also saw the inexorable rise of internet mortgages. But let's be clear here, online mortgages are going to take several years before they become accepted fully by the public.
Nevertheless, an encouraging start to this market, with the clear advantage lying with the bricks and clicks providers, Charcol-on-line, Netmortgage and Money supermarket.