first direct is temporarily withdrawing its mortgages, including its two-year fixed rate offset mortgage (4.95%), from sale to non first direct customers with effect from 5pm on Tuesday 1 April. (The bank will continue offering the product to existing first direct customers, regardless of whether they have a mortgage with the bank.) The move will enable first direct to focus its efforts entirely on processing the unprecedented number of applications for its home loans in recent weeks.
first direct will resume offering mortgages to non customers when the backlog has been cleared. In the meantime, the bank's parent, HSBC, will offer non customers a two-year fixed rate on similar terms to first direct's best buy product. The HSBC mortgage is priced at 4.99% (6.6% APR) with a fee of £1,499. It is available from HSBC branches and by phone on 0800 169 6333.
Chris Pilling, first direct´s chief executive said: "We've seen unprecedented demand for our mortgages since January thanks to our highly competitive pricing and the decision of other lenders to raise rates. As a result, we're currently seeing applications running at five times our normal volumes.
"first direct won its reputation for its amazing customer service and our first priority is to ensure we give all our customers the level of service they expect from us. The flood of interest in our mortgages has meant we're taking longer than we'd like to handle applications, especially from non-customers. Rather than increase interest rates dramatically to discourage new applications, we've decided to withdraw temporarily from offering mortgages to non customers until we've cleared the backlog. I'd like to apologise to customers for any delays they may have experienced and give them my commitment that we'll not rest until we've restored first direct's normal standards of service.
"We've made arrangements for our parent company, HSBC, to make available a similar two-year fixed rate to non customers to help them with their mortgage needs in the meantime."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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