From today (Thursday 09 August), Post Office customers will be able to get advice from in-branch mortgage specialists.
The Post Office has now launched the first phase of its bid to become a top 10 lender and give customers an alternative to the major high street banks.
Mortgage specialists will initially be in branches in Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Luton and Norwich. If the first phase proves to be successful, more specialists will be introduced into larger Post Office branches nationwide. The main goal is to increase the number of mortgage specialists in branches to three figures. At present, there are 11,800 Post Office branches nationwide.
Since 2009, customers have had to apply for Post Office mortgages over the phone. New mortgage software will enable customers to find out how much they could borrow and view products and repayments in branch, on screen. Under the new plans, mortgage specialists will be able to give customers a printed approval in principle and submit a full mortgage application.
There are reportedly no strict targets. The Post Office’s main aim is to build on its reputation as a trusted brand. It is thought the aim to become one of the top 10 lenders will take several years to achieve.
Miles Cook, head of Post Office Mortgages, said: “We understand that taking out a mortgage is one of the most important financial decisions you have to make. Finding the right one can be a complex process and this is one of the reasons why we have introduced our specially trained mortgage specialists to assist our customers through the process.”
The plans could well help the high numbers of first time buyers who have found themselves limited to renting due to tighter restrictions on lending and a lack of higher loan to value products from many high street banks. The Post Office offers mortgages for people with deposits as low as 10% and has confirmed there are plans to ‘sharpen up’ the range of deals in the near future.
Charlotte Nelson of consumer help website Moneyfacts, said that although the range doesn’t currently appear on its best buy tables, the introduction of mortgage specialists in branches would give borrowers the chance to become more involved in the complex process.
Mr Cook revealed: “Last year, over 40% of our borrowers were first time buyers, which is something we are always open to.”
Source: Press Association.