The introduction of a new Dutch-style mortgage lender in the UK, which is set to release fixed-rate mortgages where the rates will automatically reduce as borrowers repay them, has been described as a ‘fairer way to treat customers’.
April Mortgages, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in October, plans to offer loans to existing homeowners remortgaging and new buyers by the end of March.
The bank is a UK subsidiary of the Dutch asset manager DMFCO, which has made more than 100,000 loans totalling almost €30bn (£25.6bn) in the Netherlands since 2014 through its mortgage lending arm, Munt.
One of its unique selling points is that as homeowners pay off their loans, or if their property has increased in value, April will automatically switch them into a lower loan-to-value band and probably a lower rate, without the need to remortgage.
Tim Hague, April’s commercial director, said: “Reducing rates to reflect borrowers’ reducing balances is simply a fairer way to treat customers. We feel the UK mortgage market has missed this opportunity to deliver some real benefits back to borrowers. After all, the lower the mortgage balance, the lower the risk, and that should be reflected in the rate.”
April will offer fixed-rate deals of five, seven, ten, twelve and fifteen years, with rates starting at 4.99%. There are no early repayment charges if someone is moving house or repaying their mortgage.
While it will only lend at up to 85% loan-to-value to begin with, the firm plans to offer mortgages to those with a 5% deposit next month as it targets first-time buyers.
Reflecting on the fact that Brits will soon be offered Dutch-style mortgages, the CEO of financial comparison site, Finance.co.uk, Edward Newman, said: “I’m intrigued by the entry of April Mortgages. Their decision to waive early repayment fees is a significant departure from traditional mortgage norms, lowering costs for homeowners looking to sell before their deal ends. Additionally, their commitment to automatically adjust monthly interest repayments as property values rise or repayments are made, reflecting a decrease in loan-to-value ratio, adds an appealing layer of flexibility.
“This move has the potential to disrupt the mortgage landscape, injecting much-needed competition into a market largely dominated by big banks. I’ll be keeping a close eye on April Mortgages in the coming months as their entrance into the UK market unfolds, eager to see how their innovative approach reshapes the mortgage industry.”