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Intermediaries don’t fear HSBC mortgage plans

UK intermediaries remain bullish in the face of HSBC’s predictions to storm the UK mortgage sector in 2009.

HSBC remain the UK’s only non-intermediary lender, and yesterday revealed plans to increase its mortgage lending pot by 20 per cent. It also reiterated its desire to not distribute mortgages through advisers.

A spokesman told Money Marketing: “Nobody knows what 2009 is going to look like and we have not got any official lending goals, but we could get as much as 15 per cent of the gross mortgage market. This will be a big push into the sector. It’s an obvious time to increase our presence in the UK mortgage market as concern from homeowners grows.”

But intermediaries remain confident that this will not hurt the sector.

John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger says: “The market is wide open for someone who can price aggressively, so HSBC’s growth plans are entirely possible, if it can service the business.

“But we need to put things into perspective – HSBC might reduce broker business a little, but it will never be a huge reduction.”

Capital Fortune managing director Rob Kileen doubts whether it is possible for a lender to take such a large portion of the mortgage market without intermediary help: “It would be interesting to see if its achievable without broker support”.

London & Country mortgage expert David Hollingworth says making predictions like HSBC’s in such a market might be a risky strategy.

He says: “HSBC will be there and there abouts next year, and brokers will be more aware of it. But if it becomes more aggressive it will surely spur on the other lenders to lend similarly.

“Also, the other lenders have the edge because they do have intermediary channels, so they have that added distribution control.”

Hollingworth also questioned HSBC’s ability to service the increasing business after First Direct had to temporarily close for business earlier in the year: “I’m not saying HSBC will not be able to handle the business, but it will have to be mindful of its servicing capabilities,” he says.

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