First Direct is part of the HSBC group of companies being their dedicated telephone and internet banking service since 1989 before these services formed part of all banks in the UK. They are headquartered in Leeds Yorkshire and have much of their telephone banking call centres in Scotland.
There are many products that are based upon the First Direct standard variable rate (svr) whether they be completely at the standard variable rate or a percentage above this for example as a variable tracker rate. Many people have now lapsed their original mortage deal from tracker and fixed rates and let it run on the standard variable rate because interest rates are so low these days. As interest rates start to rise then more people will likely switch from the SVR to other deals. Here are the variable rate products First Direct offers:
Not a deal as such but the interest rate is simply the base rate that First Direct publish as their standard variable rate which you can't take out directly but it's the rate you end up on once your deal has expired.
This product tracks the Bank of England base rate rather than the First Direct SVR at a predetermined amount in percentage terms above the base rate as published. You are allowed to overpay certain amounts on your mortgage as well as take some payment holidays (although interest will still accrue normally). There are currently lifetime tracker rate deals available.
A capped rate simply means you pay a variable interest rate but it goes no higher than a certain amount if rates rise. First Direct does not usually offer capped rate mortgages but it's worth looking on their site if this is what you are after.
These are very popular if you believe that rates will rise in the future or simply want to know that your monthly repayments will be fixed for a certain amount of time. First Direct offer a range of fixed rate mortgages but generally these are for 2 years, 3 years or 5 years. There used to be 10 year fixed rate mortgages on offer but with lower than usual interest rates these have been withdrawn. There are no products in the 10 year plus category.
First Direct also offers an offset mortgage product where you add all your current and savings accounts together and deduct the value each day from the outstanding mortgage value. The interest rate is slighly lower than their SVR so may be a good deal for your circumstances.
Most products carry an arrangement fee anywhere from £199 but you may be able to negotiate this down if you are already a First Direct customer. There are generally early redemption penalties if you close your mortgage deal before the deal period has completed and this may be a percentage of your overall loan and in some cases the discounted amount as well.
The actual interest rate charged also varies by product depending on two factors:
With the risk being taken out of the market the very best deals are found where your loan to value percentage is low. Rates can vary by over 1% and the highest are where the LTV is 90% or more. If your LTV is 75% or less than you'll find the best deal from First Direct and all other banks. Many of the deals require a LTV of 60% or less to get the best rates available.
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