First Direct Withdraws Mortgages For New Customers

First Direct has temporarily suspended the sale of its mortgage products to non-customers.

The telephone and online bank, a division of HSBC, will stop all products including its two-year fixed rate offset mortgage, from sale to non-direct customers.

The bank said that the measure will help it cope with the high demand for its range of mortgages.

First Direct chief executive, Chris Pilling said: "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.

"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 credit crunch has had a knock on impact on the interest rates that banks loan money to each other, a rate far higher that the Bank of England's base lending rate.

First Direct is the first major lender to suspend its entire range to non-customers.

One of the UK's biggest mortgage lenders, Nationwide building society, raised its interest rates on fixed and tracker deals, last week.


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