Market Harborough Building Society (MHBS) has reported almost a quarter of all their mortgage business last year was conducted via the internet.
The Leicestershire-based lender was the first UK building society to offer an online mortgage application form in April 1999. Results at the end of 2000 show that 22% of their mortgage business is now direct.
Alison Dodd, public relations officer at MHBS, said: “Although we are a tiny, local-based organisation, the internet is enabling people to apply from all over the country who would not normally be able to visit one of our branches. Many of these customers are applying in the evenings and weekends – they visit our website, choose the product of their choice and apply there and then, allowing them to carry out their business at their own convenience.”
Despite a considerable portion of business being dealt with direct, Dodd said that the results do not indicate a fall in their intermediary sales as the majority of direct customers are new business that would have usually been drawn to larger lenders.
Dodd added: “Intermediary sales have remained level as the internet sales represent additional business. It is always useful to have a range of distribution channels to satisfy different customers. Although we do not have any plans at the moment to set up an online service for intermediaries, we are always looking at new ways to increase business.”