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Rock accused of going direct to IFA clients to offer remortgages

Advisers have hit out at Northern Rock, claiming it is offering clients direct remortgage deals with Cheltenham & Gloucester.

Strategic Financial Solutions joint managing director Henri Berest was called by a client that he has dealt with for almost a decade after she was sent a letter from Northern Rock offering her a C&G homeloan.

When he contacted Northern Rock, he says the bank told him that it could not distinguish between customers with an adviser and those without.

A spokeswoman for Northern Rock refuses to comment on whether the company can differentiate between the two segments.

She says: “When a customer comes to the end of their mortgage deal, a number of options are available to them.

“We monitor how a new customer comes to Northern Rock. However, because a customer’s circumstances can change, we offer a range of options to allow the customer to make the most appropriate choice for their needs.

“As part of this process, we encourage customers to use their existing intermediary.”

In the letter to borrowers, Rock says: “You may also wish to find out what other deals are available in the market generally,” without making any mention of a broker.

Berest says: “How on earth can it expect advisers to place new business with it when i is going behind our backs?”

John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger says: “The situation is unsatisfactory. The fact that one bank is telling customers that they should go to another bank is tantamount to advice.

“Hopefully, the stronger the relationship, the more likely the borrower will go back to their broker regardless. But if they are being misled by Northern Rock’s letter, then that is unacceptable.”

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