The mutual’s free legal services will instead be carried out by six conveyancing firms – Enact Conveyancing, Grindeys, O’Neill Patient, Walker Laird, Wilson Nesbitt and Your Conveyancer.
Concerns among brokers about free legals remain high – with 76% of respondents to this week’s Mortgage Solutions poll saying current service levels were “poor”.
At the time of publishing Nationwide had not responded to requests for comment on why it made the change in legal services provider, or what guarantees are in place to maintain service levels.
Broker concerns return
Last summer saw significant reports from brokers of poor service offered by free legal conveyancers, suggesting they were unable to cope with the volume of cases.
However, after an apparent improvement in service levels later in the year, brokers have cited worsening experiences with some free legal service providers since the New Year.
Nationwide was applauded for dropping its free legals offer last July and replacing it with an enhanced cash back of £500, up from the previous £250 – this will remain in place alongside the free legal option.
The lender said this gave customers the choice between utilising the cashback to use their own conveyancer or taking the free legals alternative.
LTV and rate changes
Nationwide has also upped the maximum loan size for first-time buyers on 95% loan to value deals from £250,000 to £350,000 to help support buyers in areas of higher house prices, notably London and the South East.
And it has made adjustments to rates on some of its products, with some fixed rate, tracker and Equity Share products being increased, while selected two-year fixed and tracker rates being reduced.
Nationwide director of mortgages Henry Jordan said: “These changes offer improved choice and flexibility across our remortgage range.
“Also, by increasing the maximum loan size available to those with small deposits, it will enable more buyers to take their first step on to the housing ladder.”