Branch distribution by banks is dead.

We have seen headlines heralding the ‘death’ of brokers, however perhaps we need to look at the whole financial distribution market and instead of worrying about brokers take an objective view of enterprise, efficiency, and distribution in general. I did some research on this by looking at the American market, talking to other brokers, by looking at operational efficiency planning in other countries and markets, and lastly was by putting up a post on which is a site where regular folks who are bearish on property (and into economics) hang out.

There are a few sites out there that I like to browse in order to gauge public sentiment, but the ‘Pin’ as its referred to by the folks who frequent it is perhaps the most open and honest, and it tends to have some heavy economic technicians frequenting it. Granted, the tone of the site is not one that perhaps everybody agrees with but the calibre of the posters knowledge is well above the average Internet forum.

Regarding the …

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A time for brokers to stand up for themselves.

Personal Touch Financial Services in the U.K. is going to put up a ‘Rogues Gallery’ on their website in order to criticise lenders who are directly undercutting the broker market. What is starting to surface in the UK is a price structure that embraces the ‘Direct Model’ rather than the ‘Independent Model’, what this means is that banks would rather have people call directly into their branch or ring them on their 1850-McCallCentre line rather than see a market that is dominated by independent advice. One of the main reasons is that they can juice Joe Public even more.

Recently Ulster Bank withdrew completely so that it can ‘cross-sell customers other high-margin products, like credit cards and overdrafts’ [quote sourced from]. It would be fair comment that if they got the mortgage via a broker they would probably not get the chance cross sell these products, and this is therefore the main reason for any bank to leave the broker market or to try and compete with brokers using such …

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Lose your collusion… Irish Banks show just how little they care.

As George Bush once said ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…shame…well you’re not gonna fool me twice’. Banks however have done this and so much more in the last few weeks that how it’s not front page news has me flabbergasted! Are the Irish public meant to really believe the picture we are seeing unfold? Apparently so…..

Let’s look at the picture so far and put it in a time-line, then we can look at that time-line and try to discern if it was sheer co-incidence or opportunism that has lead to the moves in the market.

Tuesday 4th December: Ulsterbank cut brokers income by 50%, no explanation, and done by email. It would be laughable if it were not so serious.

Tuesday 11th December: PermanentTSB announce brokers income will be cut, to be fair they gave a lot of warning, because of the size of PTsb this action kicked off an industrial dispute, nobody cared about ulsterbank but PTsb was a market giant.

Then came the waiting game, to see what the result of the industrial …

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Ulsterbank and First Active pinch on the back of RBOS woes.

This week Ulsterbank again made news in announcing that they were ‘leaving the broker market’ as of the end of May 2008. From the perspective of this brokerage you ‘can’t leave something you didn’t have’, Ulster had less than 5% share of the market and they never really secured a product/service offering that gave them significant inroads into the broker arena, for that reason, getting out of a channel they would never be able to operate in successfully is a wise decision.

In a statement they mentioned that they will instead focus on their existing client bank, what that means is that if you hold an Ulsterbank Account you can expect a phone call some time soon inviting you for a ‘financial review’ or something along those lines, while it is an excellent idea to review your finances always be aware that direct product producers such as Ulsterbank are not obliged to let you see what is available on the wider market, in fact, their advisors need only offer whatever limited options the bank create. Its like having a sweet-tooth …

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