Six major lenders will offer online application facilities only on the Mortgage Brain trading platform which they own.
The six – HBOS, Alliance& Leicester, Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, Woolwich/Barclays and Nationwide – account for 60 per cent of the market. They are piloting the service which will be rolled out to all brokers using the platform.
Mortgage Brain denies this is a restrictive practice, saying brokers can choose what platform they use.
It dismisses a claim from a national broker which says it received a “veiled threat” that leaving Mortgage Brain would prevent his firm doing online applications with the consortium, saying it has always been open about this intention.
NatWest says it does not want to build multiple systems but will look at how platforms such as Trigold could link into online applications through Mortgage Brain in the longer term.
Mortgage Brain chief executive Mark Lofthouse says: “Mortgage Brain is the only strategic platforms that these lenders support. This is not a restriction.”
Trigold marketing manager Ben Cooper says: “We do not feel this is in the interest of the marketplace and could be seen as anti-competitive if it does not create advantage for the brokers.”