Internet investor
Just over a month ago, I was writing about using the World Wide Web to find the right mortgage. Then, it was not possible to arrange a mortgage on-line. Now it is!

Birmingham-based broker Paragon Mortgages has launched the first mortgage which is available exclusively on-line through its website. Paragon offers a two-year fixed rate, at 4.59 per cent, for loans of up to 70 per cent.

This is not only the first mortgage directly available on-line, it is also among the lowest offers available. For those with smaller deposits, Paragon is offering a two-year fixed rate of 4.99 per cent for loans of up to 90 per cent.

As with all fixed-rate loans, there is a thumping penalty clause for early redemption. In this instance, if you pay off the mortgage within six years, you will be faced with paying the equivalent of six months' interest repayments. However, the loan is portable to a new property.

Through the website you can apply on-line for a decision in principle within a day. The on-line "agreement-in-principle" form gives Paragon enough information to do a quick credit check. There is no charge and no obligation on you to proceed any further.

Providing Paragon agrees your proposal, the next step is to download a full application form. At this stage there is an application fee of pounds 100 and a completion fee of pounds 100 for loans of up to pounds 50,000, or pounds 150 for loans up to pounds 100,000. Although Paragon charges no valuation fee, you will have to pay legal costs which may exceed pounds 250. Buildings and contents insurance is compulsory.

Paragon also has a range of discounts, cashbacks and fixes. Full details are available on the website.

At the same time as Paragon launched its fixed-rate mortgage, the Staffordshire Building Society began taking its first tentative steps on the Web. The society has assets of just over pounds 1bn and is a "committed mutual". As such it offers established customers a discounted "loyalty mortgage" interest rate.

Staffordshire's site offers basic background on the society and its ethos. So far, there is only limited information about its mortgages and savings products and none at all about its personal equity plan or credit card. But added-value content is likely to follow now the society's site is operational.

Paragon Mortgages:

www.paragon-mortgages.co.uk

Staffordshire:

www.staffordshirebuildingsociety. co.uk

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