C&G trims costs for home-buyers

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CHELTENHAM & Gloucester Building Society has abolished the application and valuation fees it charges borrowers, writes Paul Durman.

The move will save home-buyers a few hundred pounds, depending on the cost of the property. The society operates a sliding scale of charges ranging from pounds 135 on flats and houses costing less than pounds 40,000 to pounds 450 on a pounds 750,000 property. Several other lenders, including the Halifax, already refund the valuation fee upon completion.

Cheltenham & Gloucester's new policy will provide home-buyers with an additional cash flow benefit.

A spokeswoman said: 'We are aiming to give our customers additional benefits. We are absorbing the cost of it. We are able to do it because of our low cost base.'

Cheltenham & Gloucester hopes to attract additional borrowers. 'Hopefully, people will find it a very attractive proposition,' said the spokeswoman.

Under Andrew Longhurst, its chief executive, Cheltenham & Gloucester has acquired a reputation as an aggressive competitor in the home loans market.

Last year, the society was the first to stop selling the much-criticised mortgage endowment policies - though such sales were only a small part of its business.

Mr Longhurst said: 'We let (customers) choose how they want to repay their loan; we don't insist that they buy our insurance; and now we are not even charging them the expected fees.'