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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Shining Knight?

HSBC rode to the rescue of beleaguered mortgage holders today, with an offer to match homeowners' existing deals.

Their "white knight move" targets approximately 1.4 million customers whose cheap fixed-rate deals are ending this year, and who are facing increases in rates from their existing lenders.

HSBC, very wisely, has a greater proportion its of funding from customer deposits and has a strong presence in emerging markets that have been less affected by the credit crunch.

There is of course an irony to this "white knight move". First Direct was one of the first lenders to close its doors last week to new mortgage borrowers. The irony being that First Direct is a subsidiary of HSBC.

Cynics might argue that HSBC's charge of £999 to those who would have gone for First Direct mortgages is a bit rich.

In another twist, HSBC has egg on its face having lost a computer disc containing the personal details of nearly 400,000 customers in the post.

There is a lot of that about at the moment.

Nonetheless, given the lean times in which we live, HSBC's move is doubtless welcomed by many.

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