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Product matters

Future Mortgages has gone through enormous change in the last few months. I suspect its new range is an important part of the renaissance, which has seen revamps from top management right through to distribution strategy. Almost all its management and sales teams are new.

The lender has shifted its focus to the packaging market. It seems that it has implemented cascade underwriting to create a one-stop shop now that its range includes near-prime rather than just sub-prime products.

Its self-cert product at 5.4 per cent is far from a market leader compared with loans such as Northern Rock&#39s 3.89 per cent fix until October 1, 2005 and Bank of Scotland&#39s 4.5 per cent tracker, both of which have no redemption overhang. But some of the benefits of Future&#39s products are free valuation (rarely offered by its traditional competitors) and an attractive arrangement fee of £99 compared with a minimum of £300 for BoS and Northern Rock.

The buy-to-let loan at 5.4 per cent is a good deal and, while there are keener rates around, such as Mortgage Trust&#39s 4.37 per cent discount for two years, Mortgage Trust&#39s deal carries the usual valuation fee and an £800 arrangement fee. Future&#39s product would therefore get my vote.

Our overall prognosis is that the rates are fine but it is the features of Future&#39s new deals which make them worth selling. Low fees, 3.25 times joint income, no mortgage indemnity guarantee charge in any circumstances and portability should all strike a chord with advisers and score highly in the minds of consumers.

Robert Clifford is managing director at national broker franchise mortgageforce

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