Woolwich offers loans by phone to safe buyers

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WOOLWICH Building Society is launching a telephone mortgage service for borrowers with at least a 20 per cent deposit.

The service, called Woolwich Direct, is only available to borrowers who own their homes and can therefore demonstrate a good repayment record with their existing lenders.

For those who meet the criteria, Woolwich says a five- minute phone call is enough for it to provide a mortgage quote, and a mortgage offer in principle.

Applicants are then sent an information pack, which includes a part-filled form for them to complete.

Along with the form, they must also include a valuation fee, proof of income and a reference from their existing lender.

Woolwich Direct then completes the underwriting process with a credit search and a fraud detection programme.

John Stewart, operations manager for the new service, said: 'Our research shows that many customers prefer to arrange their mortgage over the telephone and will welcome the opportunity to do so in a quick straightforward manner, without the need to visit a branch.'

The service recently underwent a pilot study, in which pounds 1m was borrowed within two weeks of it being started.

The only other company operating a similar in-principle telephone service is First Mortgage Securities, a mortgage lender based in London.

For further details ring Woolwich Direct on 0645 757575 or First Mortgage Securities on 071- 836 3863.

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