West Bromwich Building Society is preparing to return to the intermediary market with a new website and a revamped range of products.
Credit Today understands from a source familiar with the matter that the Midlands-based mutual is set to return to the sector which it quit in spectacular fashion in 2009 following concerns over its financial strength.
At the time, the society issued an official statement, stating that it had withdrawn its remaining intermediary products but did plan to return to the broader intermediary sector when market conditions improve. At the time, it said it would be “difficult to predict when this will be.”
However, the mutual has now taken the first steps into making a return, registering two brand marks with the Intellectual Property Office called ‘The West Brom For Intermediaries’.
The West Brom’s fixed mortgage range is far more modest than the days of old, however, with its highest loan-to-value now at 80% on its two-year fixed-rate residential mortgage product. It also offers two-year tracker mortgages at 2.59% and 2.69% variable.
The society has, as yet, resisted a return to commercial mortgage lending which attracted significant press criticism during the early days of the credit crunch, sparking much interest in the underlying financial strength of the business.
Prior to the economic downturn, the West Brom had also dipped its toe in other areas of specialist lending with the formation of its second-charge spin-off brand White Label Loans.
White Label was closed to new credit applications in November 2008, despite many in the credit community maintaining that White Label was a financially stable, profit-making business.
Kam Sanghani, the former managing director of White Label Loans, is now head of operations (consumer lending) at Shawbrook Bank. Originally, the West Bromwich Building Society was formed in 1849.
A spokesperson from West Bromwich Building Society said: “The Society has resumed intermediary lending, albeit at a modest level. Lending is initially being conducted through a small selected panel of intermediaries, appointed in November 2012, and reflects the next positive step forward as the Society seeks to re-establish its position in the residential mortgage market.”
By Joe McGrath
Published 21 May 2013