Advantages Large range of products, helpful patient advice, award winner
Disadvantages Interest rates can go UP as well as down.
|Competitiveness of APR|
|Quality of Customer Service|
|Security and Privacy|
|Ease of Application|
I bought my first property in September 2000, and it was a fairly lengthy process made somewhat easier by the Nationwide. Perhaps my optimism about my mortgage from the Nationwide is slightly buoyed by the low interest rate making it a good time to have a mortgage and the increase in house prices is helping too.Before I even started looking at houses I looked for a mortgage as this is one of the options – and possibly the easiest one to do at the time, so I had a chat with my Bank – HSBC and Nationwide, and what really swayed me was that my parents had their mortgage with the Nationwide and I consider them to be fairly wise people.
The people at the Nationwide were very helpful in going through the different types of mortgage with me and spent time giving me various quotes (much as HSBC had done) for different products and different loan amounts. They asked questions like “How much do you feel you need to know that your repayments will not change / go up” etc to try to match products to me.In the end I chose a First time buyer mortgage because it gave a nice easy start into the mortgage, didn’t have penalties, only tied you in for 2 years and also they covered the cost of the basic survey (but they recommend you have a thorough survey on top of that which I did opt for).
The first time buyer mortgage has 1 year of fixed interest rate, followed by 1 year of discounted variable rate interest followed by normal variable interest rate. The idea is that you start off in the first year with fairly low payments, then the discounted price is slightly higher and then the normal price will be a little higher still, that way you get broken in gently. However since I started my mortgage interest rates have come down, such that my discounted rate was lower than my fixed rate, resulting in a monthly payment less than my car loan repayment!It is important to realise however that this could all change and interest rates could go up, vastly increasing my mortgage repayments.
Recently the nationwide was one of a few institutions to give a blanket refund to customers who had been on a different rate and lost out, whilst I don’t understand what it was, I did benefit from this repayment and I feel that it is a sign that Nationwide are not about to start fleecing their customers. As a mutual society the aims of the nationwide are not to make huge profits for the shareholders but to provide a good service for its members, so as a result they evaluate their variable interest rate regularly and readjust payments accordingly – so my repayments have dropped several times in the last year.Overall I think that the Nationwide is a very experience and helpful lender which is probably why they have received lots of awards saying so. I also have 3 different savings accounts with the Nationwide and I strongly doubt whether the existing members would vote for demutualisation (the transformation of the Nationwide into a bank with the members receiving shares) and any new members have nothing to gain from it as their gains would go to charity. I have no hesitation in recommending the Nationwide and its products.
UPDATE: (Thanks to Jim and Sue for their questions which are hopefully filling some gaps in this opinion)
Response to jim1049:
The queues in the branches are like most other financial institutions - most often busy at lunchtimes during the week. Having said that, many's the time that I've gone in and there has been no queue, but I don't think its indicative as there are two Branches (don't know why) in the town where I work.
Whilst I'm not intimately familiar with the Nationwide's online services I did go to their site (www.nationwide.co.uk) to check if you can apply for a mortgage online - you can and they claim it only takes 45 minutes.
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