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Nationwide looks at giant broker arm

Nationwide is looking at creating a separate giant division for intermediary business.

The UK’s biggest building society is considering whether the move would be better than housing direct and intermediary business under the same roof.

Last week, West Bromwich Building Society announced the creation of West Brom for Intermediaries, which will generate and process broker business. Yorkshire, Britannia, Derbyshire and Portman building societies have similar operations.

Nationwide saw gross mortgage lending fall to 21.1bn in the last financial year compared with 23.2bn over the previous 12 months although it claims it deliberately wrote less business due to fears about the state of the housing market. It has also revealed that it will make a push into the light-adverse market via its UCB Home Loans subsidiary.

Chief executive Peter Williamson says: “I do not know whether we need to split the business off but we are thinking about it to see how the model works. There are no plans at the moment to do what West Brom did but that is not to say we will not change our plans. We have local branch people with excellent relationships with local introducers and dedicated units that look after big networks.”

Mortgage Advisory Service head Stuart Wilson says: “I am worried about such moves as it makes it easier for providers to undercut brokers in their direct offerings.”

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