The Hi-Tech Investor: Mortgages on the line

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The Independent Online
Independent Mortgages is a branchless broker that deals with customers over the internet or by telephone. Its online application matches home buyers to more than 1,000 different loans from dozens of lenders. The company is independent for arranging loans, although it is tied to Winterthur Life for endowments and life assurance.

Like any mortgage broker, Independent Mortgages charges a fee, unless it sells a life policy or other financial product to back up the loan. Fees are one reason more home owners do not use brokers. But Anthony Webb, Independent Mortgages' managing director, says only a very small percentage of clients end up paying a fee.

Visitors can carry out a basic credit check on themselves, and also work out how much they can borrow from a fixed monthly budget rather than working backwards from the price of a house.

Home buyers who decide to take out a loan through Independent Mortgages will have to complete a couple of phone calls and sign some forms to finalise a deal on the loan.

However, Mr Webb says his service aims to go beyond normal broking. His company provides progress chasers who can help manage the home-buying process, and liaise with solicitors and estate agents at no extra charge for the service. Independent Mortgages plans to develop it so clients can check the progress of their purchase entirely over the internet.

Independent Mortgages:

Egg cuts loan rate

Egg is at it again - with an internet-based mortgage application. The Prudential's new bank is moving more of its products to the internet, but the change for home buyers affects Egg mortgage holders.

The company is reducing its standard variable rate from 5.79 per cent to 5.59. The rate cut applies across the board, including existing borrowers. New buyers who apply by phone rather than online will pay a pounds 199 fee.

The rate cut makes an even better proposition of an already attractive deal. The Egg mortgage has no lock-in, no valuation fees, and no mortgage indemnity premiums. The interest is calculated daily, which also cuts costs.

Unfortunately, Egg's fixed-rate loans are not as exciting, but this could change when the lender launches a complete internet loans service next year.

n Egg:

n Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at: