New fixed rate deals from First DirectFive-year mortgage deals from Which? winner
22 March 2010
First Direct, the Which? top performer for mortgage customer satisfaction, has launched new fixed rate mortgage deals.
The online and telephone bank, First Direct, has expanded its mortgage range to include a selection of five-year, fixed rate mortgages. Borrowers need a minimum deposit of 15% to benefit from the rates on offer and also have to take out a First Direct current account in order to qualify. The rates start at 4.69% for those with a deposit of at least 35% rising to 5.99% for those with a deposit of 15%.
Top for customer satisfaction
First Direct is the highest scorer in the Which? survey on mortgage customer satisfaction. In the latest survey, it topped our customer satisfaction poll with a score of 91% for overall satisfaction. Other top performers were The One Account at 77%, Coventry Building Society at 75% and Britannia Building Society at 74%.
It is also a Which? Recommended Provider for current accounts and features in the Which? Best Rate tables for current account overdrafts.
Good rates but not the best
We used the Which? mortgage finder to see how the new rates from First Direct compare to the rest of the market using a scenario based on a house purchase of £200,000.
These rates aren't absolute market beaters. However, at 85% LTV (loan-to-value) and 65% the First Direct deals are pretty competitive when you look at the total cost of the deal over five years. In the 85% scenario, the First Direct deal falls into 9th place and in the 65% scenario into 4th place. The rates at 75% (5.19% and 5.49%) are less competitive falling quite far behind Chelsea Building Society which takes the number one slot with a deal at 4.69%.
Melanie Green, Principal Money Researcher said: 'Although these deals aren't the very best available they are definitely worth considering if customer satisfaction is an important factor for you. The combination of a very decent rate [with the exception of the 75% LTV deals] and an excellent customer satisfaction score is compelling. The big drawback is that First Direct insists you open one of its current accounts in order to qualify. The account has a £10 monthly charge unless you are able to deposit at least £1,500 a month in the account, maintain an average monthly balance of £1,500 or have another First Direct product. If you think you're likely to pay the £10 charge for the current account don't forget to take account of this in your calculations.'
You can search for the best mortgage for your own circumstances using the Which? Mortgage Finder.
Which? Money when you need it
You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.
Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.
Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.