Brokers have criticised NatWest for allegedly offering a sub-5.0 per cent 60 per cent LTV five -year fixed mortgage rate direct to consumers — and not available via brokers.
The deal is available online on an execution-only basis and brokers are accusing NatWest of being “short-sighted" given that people, in the current market, need advice more than ever.
And they claim that the dual pricing may be “incompatible with our commitment to Consumer Duty” with a 15 basis point difference between the direct deal being offered by NatWest online and the cheapest brokers have to offer at 5.14 per cent, excluding green mortgages.
Riz Malik, director of independent mortgage broker R3 Mortgages, says: “Is NatWest really rewarding people for not taking advice in this day and age? Considering that this is a time when people need advice the most, I find this tactic short-sighted. It's not in the interest of consumers nor in the spirit of Consumer Duty."
Ranald Mitchell, director of independent mortgage broker Charwin Private Clients, goes even further: “This is a disgusting practice that NatWest have been guilty of in the past. They are not alone. They send their representatives around our businesses with the message, 'We value brokers', and then continue to undermine the crucial service brokers offer with cheaper rates directly.”
And Craig Fish, managing director at London-based mortgage broker Lodestone, doesn’t hold back, saying: “Really? I thought we had moved beyond this underhanded tactic nowadays. NatWest, you should know better. Dual pricing has to stop, and the regulator needs to do more.”
The view is shared by Lewis Shaw, founder of Shaw Financial Services: “The FCA wants consumers to receive advice when taking out a massive amount of debt linked to their most valuable asset for over 25 years. So how does this fit with Consumer Duty and preventing foreseeable harm when many consumers are unaware of the implications and most won't truly understand the protections they're giving up when selecting an execution-only product?”
Finally Steven Morris, director at Bristol-based independent mortgage broker, Advantage Financial Solutions, mirrors Malik's views that NatWest is being short-sighted: “This is awkward as, of all lenders, we have perhaps the best relationship with our NatWest BDM. But yes, this is a phenomenally short-sighted tactic that arrogantly sticks up two fingers to the relationship with brokers. Sorry, NatWest, but who provided you all that business during the recent market boom? Around 75 per cent of it, if I have my numbers right? Ah yes, us brokers. Dingbats.”