The EBS distribute through brokers via their subsidiary ‘Haven Mortgages’, the EBS have thoroughly debunked the idea that mutuality means anything by charging their existing clients different rates than new clients. They have also failed to be in the driving seat for a ‘third force’, going it alone has not happened, remaining an independent entity has failed, and the likelihood of private equity getting involved will most likely hinge upon state support being part of the package, thus it seems that institutional buyers will be the only serious suitors.
It is in an environment such as this that costs should be most seriously addressed, they have done this with Haven, slashing commissions and workforce, getting the organisation lean, but thus far EBS have failed to pursue efficiency with the same zeal within their own camp, and this zombie-like bank/mutual/whatever, is now reducing LTV’s for the only efficient part of the operation, Haven will now only offer a maximum of 80% LTV to potential clients, leaving 90% loans with the least effective arm of the organisation, the agent network.
It is important to remember that EBS obtain much of their distribution via their ‘agency network’ which is effectively a network of tied brokers, there are actually very few EBS branches that are owned and operated solely by the parent company, rather it is like branded tied brokers. As non-tied independent brokers we are saddened by the EBS move to force Haven to lower their maximum LTV, the move certainly wasn’t sought by Haven, and it is funnelling resources instead toward the inefficient mother-ship when the sensible thing to do would be to cut costs there and get cheap distribution via intermediaries, but it seems they are opting instead for intermediary distribution but only via tied agents who have different sets of underwriting rules etc. This is typical of Irish banking, punish those who do right and reward those who don’t.