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First is better, not equal says Which?

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Consumer protection champion Which? has rated First Direct, Nationwide and Coventry Building Society the UK’s best mortgage lenders.

The lenders were awarded Which? Recommended Provider status after a survey of more than 3,600 mortgage holders asking about customer service, fee transparency, value for money and more. Which? said it also analysed ‘thousands of mortgage deals’.

First Direct achieved a customer score of 77 per cent in the Which? survey, and was highly rated for the transparency of its charges and keeping customers informed. In addition to its strong performance, it also offered more market-leading deals than any other lender.

Nationwide and Coventry Building Society also rated highly in the Which? survey (77 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively) and also scored highly in the analysis of lenders offering the cheapest deals.

Chelsea Building Society came at the bottom of this year’s table, with a customer score of just 49 per cent. Customers rated Chelsea only two stars for customer service, flexibility and value for money.

The specialist lender Kensington finished second from bottom, while Atom Bank and Family Building Society also only received two star customer ratings for customer service and clarity of statements.

One in five mortgage borrowers said they had contacted or attempted to contact their lender since the start of the pandemic – over half said this was to request a payment holiday. However, most reported having problems reaching their lender. One in six said they had left a phone message but had not heard back.

‘Good customer service and communication have proved particularly vital since the start of the pandemic, so prospective buyers and re-mortgagers should factor them in as two of the most important aspects of choosing a mortgage, along with getting a good deal’, said Which? Money editor Jenny Ross.