I have had a mortgage with Santander (as they are now known and have been for quite some time) since before the Spanish giant took over and back when they were still known as Abbey National. The mortgage has been as good as we can expect considering that it is such a big part of our monthly outgoings and we have always felt confident in their services and their ability to look after things.
We started on a fixed rate deal way back when and found that the deal was a good one comparatively and that they were a very easy bank to use. We then went onto their variable rate mortgage for a while, which was again seamless and still felt like we were getting a fair deal. During this time they often sent us information about deals we might be interested in, one of which we took them up on and sealed for three years at a fixed rate. A year into this latest deal, they sent us information about another deal that was fixed for three years and was on a better interest rate than the one we were on. They offered us the chance to move to this new deal with no additional fees, which we thought was fantastic as it allowed us to save a whole lot of money and made us pleased to be customers with them. Despite them being a financial institution (and we know how bad they are for thinking about themselves0 we really felt that they were trying to prove that they wanted to keep our custom.
The staff are always excellent whenever we have to deal with them, in that they are always very professional, both in bank and on the phone. We always get the correct paperwork to show any changes and it is easy to understand. I like that there are so many high street banks - so we can always find one when we need one.
The only problem that we have ever had is that when it comes to paying a lump sum off our mortgage, we always want to make it as a capital repayment however three times when we have done this, they have changed the length of the mortgage and the monthly repayments instead. All it takes to fix is a quick phone call, but it is quite annoying when it happens.
I am currently in the process of buying my first home and have decided after having a lot of grief from my initial lender to go with abbey for my mortgage.
So far they have been fairly good. the rates are the absolute best but they are reasonable and they do offer a good choice of options.
There approval was quick as was there valuation and the only two terms to come back where that we must have insurance in place (this is standard of any mortgage), one good thing is abbey don't insist you have to go with them for this meaning you can go for the best deal.
They also insisted on a mundic test, this was half expected due to the age and location of the property however they failed to check that a test had already been done. after questioning it they said they would possible accept the old test if I can get it to them. Now its now in there hands and I will update when I get an answer but it was a bit of a pain as all these things are now computerised so it would not of been hard for them to find the paperwork themselves rather than me running between people trying to get it to them.
They do also seem to be a little wasteful on paper, sending repeat documents over and over however that's the modern age of computerised systems.
Other than that so far I am pleased with the service fast and simple.
I will update this review further down the line when I have more to say.
If you are looking to go with these guys for a mortgage I would not bother as they are complete timewasters! Me and my partner have an excellent credit rating at first Abbey approved our mortgage and we left it in their hands although they seemed to be extremley slow with their processes the next thing they informed our broker that our application had been declined these people obviously have NO IDEA what they are doing now we are going to another bank to give them our money.All I can say is that they have lost out on our business and we will never deal with them again!
Below letter of complaint says it all:
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to complain about my recent mortgage application process with Abbey.
Prior to applying, I went to pains to stress to the mortgage advisor the tight timescales I was working towards in my prospective house purchase. I was assured that, while nothing could be guaranteed, the vast majority of applications (if successful) would proceed to valuation within 1-2 working days. As our application was relatively straightforward, the advisor was confident in assuring us that I should get a very quick answer.
In the end, we waited 3-4 weeks, ultimately to be rejected. I will come on to my thoughts on the rejection in a moment, but first of all I wanted to stress how overly bureaucratic the application process is from the perspective of a potential customer. Over a period of 3 weeks the underwriter (via the administrative staff) got back to me 4 times to ask for further documentation to support our application. All of these were unrelated requests, and could have been dealt with all at once had the underwriter taken a look at our application as a whole after we initially submitted. What was particularly annoying was that each time we were asked to submit extra information, we essentially went to the back of the queue - having to wait 2 working days for the document(s) even to be picked up by the administrative staff, then (at least) another working day or two for the underwriter to take a look.
Ultimately, my application was rejected because Abbey were apparently "unhappy with the purchase scenario". I was told that this meant that the underwriter was unhappy with my wife living in the property, but with the mortgage just being in my name, as this would apparently leave Abbey with less security on knowing that they could reclaim the property in future. This was a strange reason for rejection for 2 reasons. Firstly, as my wife, who is American, does not yet have permanent right to remain in the UK and so was not permitted to be named on the mortgage (if she had been, we would have been more than happy to complete a joint application). Secondly, and more importantly, this shows a complete lack of knowledge of property law - as any half-competent underwriter should be aware, the interest of the mortgagee (i.e. Abbey) comes before any derived interest following from myself. So, in plain English, if my wife and I were ever to separate in future and she did have a claim for a share in the property, Abbey's interest would come first. This is also ignoring the fact that my wife would have signed (as per standard practice in these matters) a form stating that she had no interest in the property.
Our independent legal advice informed us that, and I quote, "Abbey clearly don't know their own business". This leads me to believe that the rejection was not for the reasons stated, but because Abbey were no longer happy to offer the rate that had been reserved for us (a week or so after our application, this was removed from the market). Obviously it is your right to reject anyone who applies and for any reason, but this has left a very bad taste. The fact that it took 3-4 weeks to get a rejection has ultimately led us to miss a number of deadlines for the property purchase. We are now faced with losing the property - though Nationwide have been very helpful so far in our application with them as regards trying to speed things along (e.g. valuation within 2 days rather than 1 month).
I could write a separate lengthy complaint on my experiences over the last year with my Santander current account (and in particular on your terrible customer service), but I will now take the only option available to me and will be closing my account as soon as possible. I do not wish to have any dealings with the Abbey/Santander brand, and will be avoiding your products from now on. I do not expect to achieve much by this letter of complaint, but while it may be a drop in the ocean, I wanted to let you know the reasons for you losing another customer, and an idea of why Santander is gaining a reputation for incompetence.
I have had my current account and mortgage with the Abbey (now Santander) for around 16 years - opened mainly 'cos that's where my parents banked - naïve I know. Having said this, I have generally been pretty happy with them.
I have a Santander Preferred Current Account which gives you a higher rate of interest if you have £1000 a month going into it. But more importantly, charges you very little when overdrawn - I use a £300 o/d every month and never pay more than about 30p in interest. They did once charge me about £80 for going over my o/d limit but refunded the lot when I phoned to complain - can't say fairer than that since I had gone over my limit.
I have a flexible offset mortgage which offsets your savings against the mortgage owed. The rate I'm paying on the Santander mortgage is 0.99% which I think is pretty much as low as they come. The other good thing is that I can overpay the mortgage from my current account online - so can make overpayments from the comfort of my living room as and when I am able. When I decided to shop around a few years ago, I phoned them to see what they could do and they found me the deal that I'm now on which no other bank could get anywhere near.
Buildings and Contents insurance
Rubbish! I have only ever tried to make a claim on my buildings insurance once in 16 years and it was refused. I lost a few roof slates in gale force winds, but they said the roof was not in a good enough state of repair! Don't they think if it was in a perfect state, I wouldn't have lost the tiles and needed to claim? Annoyingly, because they'd had to send their people out to look at the roof to decide not to pay out, they class this as a claim - which now shows up when I need to renew.
In summary, I can't fault them on their mortgage and current account and the service I've received when I've considered moving accounts. However I would strongly recommend shopping around for a better buildings and contents policy.
Ok, so the cashiers arent really naked but it got your attention! ;-)
I have never had an account with Abbey, only my mortgage which I took out approximately a year and eight months ago. I was remortgaging my flat and the process was easy and swift. I was working as a conveyancer at the time though, so I guess this helped as I knew approximate timescales etc and didn't concern myself when I didn't receive my mortgage until 2 weeks after my valuation was carried out.
The problems began when the mortgage was underway.
My other half and I try to overpay our mortgage as much as we can, always explaining carefully to Abbey that we want our monthly payments to remain the same and for our term to be reduced so that the mortgage of paid off that bit quicker.
Without fail, Abbey have messed up the paperwork involved with the overpayments. Most times our monthly payment is reduced even though we ask for only the term to be reduced. And when I say we ask, we write a letter explaining, speak to them on the phone and tell the cashier in the branch.
One time we received a letter telling us that our future monthly payments would be £0.00. I had to call them and explain to them that if we actually paid £0.00 as set out in their letter, it is likely we would eventually be reposessed! ;-)
Now comes the tricky part. After telling Abbey several times that I will not be going with them when we come to remortgage in March 2010, they have now written to us and told us we can go onto a fixed rate which is nearly 2% less than what we are paying now.
We can go onto the new rate straight away, it only takes a phonecall and the only fee we will have to pay will be £125 as opposed to the usual 1K or so to move to other lenders.
Having worked out how much we would pay over 2 years for the other top fixed rates which are around at the moment, i am begrudgingly convinced that we need to change our deal to the new Abbey one now.
Although Abbey have been totally useless, after several phone calls we do eventually get them to sort things out for us. I have stopped getting stressed about them being rubbish and just explain to them calmly where they have gone wrong and what they need to do to rectify matters.
This is because unftortunately, I have found that a lot of the people who work in the call centres are quite young and have not had a mortgage, do not have any interest in mortgages and have not been trained well enough so that they properly understand them.
Having said all that, we are in a credit crunch and I am watching the pennies. The saved pennies, nay pounds, I'm afraid to say, are taking priority over customer service at the moment. I would like to be able to say I'm taking my business elsewhere but I think that's called cutting off my nose to spite my face!
Im a first time buyer and very excited & nervous at the same time, I had a very bad experience with your move (read my other review on them - waste of time), anyhow...
Like I was saying, im nervous and excited. Abbey put my mind at ease, made me feel comfortable and explained things to me in a language I could understand, I made an appointment with them and was happy from then on.
I had initially done my own research and concluded that Abbey offer the best and most competitive mortgage out there, the bonus is that they paid £250 towards my solicitor's fee's, gave me a free valuation saving me at least £250, and they managed to get me onto a product where I escaped having to pay a £995 product fee - total saving nearly £1500.
They are a friendly bunch, and made sure I understood what I was getting into, even did a comparison for me showing me how much id have to pay if rates went up. The timescales they gave me proved to be accurate and I wasn't left hanging around wondering what's going on. Abbey gave me a direct line number for my mortgage advisor, and on the odd occasion she wasn't around there was always someone else who could help.
They did what they said they would, always. They didn't give me false hope, they didn't make me wait excessively and the thing that I liked the most - they were always upfront with me. How much of this was down to my advisor I cannot say, she was an upfront character and maybe that had a lot to do with it. But still, overall Abbey are a very good bunch of folks, friendly, competitive and the customer service is excellent.
Point to note - I gotta say that this the savings i made and the offer Abbey gave me was and still is valid up to 14.09.09, for any date after this i cant comment on.
I am a 1st time buyer and I thought using Abbey would be the best... it turned out to be the WORST.I started my app before easter and yesterday, after they said they had approved my mortgage, they declined it, nothing to do with my credit as it is PERFECT, it was to do with my budget planner which leaves me with more than enough to live on to go on holiday once a month. For some reason they decided to put my partners costs on their, even though he is not named on the mortgage. So in all, it has taken them 5 weeks to decline it and the whole process has been one long nightmare.Please, do not use Abbey unless you really have to!!!
Terrible! I hate to say it because I worrked for Abbey for a while in the call centre, hence opening an account- they me to pay wages in to. Also an insight into how they treat their customers and I must say Im not suprised by the terrible service I received. All sorts of problems; bank statements to my exact address under a foreign name never resident at my address, they would not stop sending them untill 'this person' requested the statements stopped?!? Cut a long story short... numerous expensive calls to call centres over various matters and when I tried to close the account I went to bank with docs etc, they destroyed card etc, Im still receiving statements 3 months on. I cant get away from them and still making expensive calls to the call centre. They cant do anything without messing it up!!! Royal Bank much better!
I have had a mortgage with Abbey for over two years now. I got a buy to let tracker deal with £250 cash back. (Looking back this turned out to be an excellent choice with the current financial situation)
When i was looking for a mortgage this was the best by far although on other occassions when ive needed a mortgage the deals available werent particually attractive. I would suggest using an independant advisor to find the best deals available.
My mortgage offer came really quick (something very important to me as i bought the house at auction and only had 28 days to complete!) The whole process from agreement in pricipal to completion was 21 days. (the quickest ive ever had).
Although i used an independant mortgage advisor i did was contacted by the mortgage department at abbey to see how my mortgage was going. The mortgage adviser at Abbey National was efficient, courteous and had the information i required.
The Abbey have been the best mortgage company i have had for service and speed. I am now paying a really low rate for my house (but it is unlikely this kind of offer would be available today). I cannot reccomend this mortgage company highly enough.
Having just read lots of fairly negative reviews of Abbey, I feel as though I just need to stand up for them, well from last night's experience anyway.
I managed to renew my mortgage on a fairly hefty fixed rate 2 year deal last September. This meant that my mortgage went up by £100 per month but at the time it was the only option open to me. When i phoned last night, a very pleasant Irish girl spent a long time going through my options and ended up offering me a very attractive tracker rate, which means despite a penalty my payments have now gone down by a whopping £170 per month starting next month.
The most impressive part of this is that she worked out all the figures manually so that I could take advantage of yesterday's cut as well, now that's what i call customer service! Brilliant!
Abbey national have done nothing for me since I was 16 and I first joined them. They have done nothing but lose my details, charge me 150 for my account being overdrawn by 5 pounds only, to refund me just 50 pounds of it. I have visited the bank on three occasions and ordered my new upgraded card, and been told it would arrive in 14 days, Only the third time I went in the lady said '' oh sorry love the lady never put it in our system''. I have never been as frustrated in my life as I have become with this bank, I just called them 5 munities ago, to be put on hold for 5 munities and then hung up on. I am sickened by their poor customer service, and will be leaving abbey national as of immediately, Thanks to their rude foreign customer service employees and there lack of understanding for a young woman trying to earn a living.
Abbey national is now known as just Abbey and is part of the Sander group. I used to love Abbey as it used to offer great advice and you could basically get everything money related in one place. In fact the mortgage we got with them is second to none its great and we got it fixed for 10 years so we dont have to worry about the current financial situation as much. BUT and its a big but the telephone banking is nothing but a big joke, they all seem extremely rude when you have to talk to them and very unwilling to be of any assistance plus it seems that the Abbey telephone banking has been moved abroad and I have a real issue with being able to understand the person on the other end of the phone and vice versa. I have also found them very unflexible when it comes to fines, they seem to manage to get you trapped with getting fines each month as they refuse to change the date the fine will come out to when you will have money and tend to take it out the day before so you get more fines the next month.
Abbey are a fantastic bank that offer a lot of products under one roof.
Abbey offer a wide range of bank accounts, they have a current account which i have with them where i have a visa debit card, a cheque book and an overdraft on the account of £1000 although i have never used the overdraft and havent used a cheque for ages, you can pay in most stores through chip and pin with your debit card and use it all over the world at cash machines so this for me is a great account.
Abbey offers a specialised account for people aged 11 to 15 years which has a cash card for with drawals and has an interest payment of 6%pa but you do have to make a payment into the account once a month but there is no fixed amount you have to pay in so you could pay as little as £1, i think this is a great way of giving a teenager the chance to be responsible for there own money all be it a small amount.
They also have an account specifically for 16 to 18 year olds to have your first wages paid into which payed 6% but has to have a minimum of £50 a month paid into the account, this has a visa debit card and cheque book.
Abbey offer a student account for 18 years and over which has a debit card, overdraft and cheque book but only pays 1.5%.
The other option of a bank account with abbey is a basic account which has a cash machine card only, no debit card, overdraft or cheque book, this is the only option abbey offer to anyone on benefits or with a poor credit rating. This was the account i first started with with abbey when i first turned 18 as they didnt have a students account then, i was told they would monitor how i handled the money in my account for 6 months then would upgrade if apropriate, they upgraded after the first 6 months, to do this you will need to leave at least £50 a week of what is payed into your account in your account and not miss any direct debits as they judge this as good money management.
Abbey are currently offering 0% on credit card balance transfers for 13 months and cash back on shopping for a limited time, there credit card interest is charged at 15.9%apr but most of you will already have seen the adverts for this.
Abbey do personal loans with a flexible repayment plan offering loans from £1000 to £25,000 at 7.9% apr
Abbey offer a lot of options for mortgages which include, flexible years, trackers, fixed rates, mortgages with no deposits, first time buyers and mortgages for propertys abroad so if you are looking to buy a property there is a lot of choice at Abbey.
I have abbey house insurance, they offer buildings and contents insurance, i have £280,000 of buildings insurance and £100,000 of contents insurance with them which is an old for new policy and has accidental damage cover included on most household items, for this i pay a year as 10 monthly direct debits, i pay by direct debit as they dont charge you any extra for this like other companys do so the money may as well sit in my account earning me interest as in theres. I have had to put in two contents clains with them which they paid out on both times with no problems unlike another company i could mention.
Abbey also offer life insurance which is provided by phoenix life but i dont actually know anything else about this service.
They used to offer car insurance which i used to have but since they sold this part of the buisiness to another company i dont use them anymore.(the company they sold to is the same company i had problems with over a content insurance claim)
Abbey offers investment oportunities, stake holder pensions and isas but i will have to be a bit blond on this bit and say i know nothing about them.
finaly they offer child trust fund accounts which i have 2 of, they do a stake holder and a non stakeholder option, me not realy being into finance took the option of non stake holder which allows me to pay in upto £1200 a year in each account, gives us an interest rate of 5.25%pa and wont allow my children to squander there money untill they are 18 years old.
In all the years i have used abbey i have never had a bad experience with them, there staff are always polite and friendly even though they are always buisy, there are queues at buisy times like dinner time in the branches so i avoid going at mid day but all in all they offer me a fantastic service.
For more info on my blond areas you can use there web site or call them on 08457654321.
The only advice I can offer when it comes to arranging a mortgage with Abbey National is do not bother they are absolutely awful and if we had not invested so much time and money with them we would have cancelled the whole arrangement but that would have meant that the house chain would have collapsed.
You can arrange a mortage either by phone, over the internet or in person at a branch. We chose the latter as we felt that we needed the personal contact and advice that was on offer for which there is no charge. The adviser at our loacl branch was actually quite helpful initially and very friendly, they agreed the mortgage and we had to provide pay slips and identification.
She explained the different deals and identified the right one for us which we were happy to go along with as it compared well with others we had seen and we could afford it. She also offerred to arrange life cover and home insurance but we had our own already. The whole process took two and a hlaf hours which seemed a long time mainly due to the system being slow she claimned, maybe then we should have bailed out because everything that followed was not only slow but plain awful.
Once we had applied we heard nothing for four weeks and only when we chased did anything happen then we had to suffer the nightmare of the Abbey phone system where you never get to speak to the person you want to that is on the assumption that you actually get through, twenty minutes on hold seemed to be the norm and sometimes longer.
Paperwork went missing and calls were never returned, the first two written offers were wrong and had to be returned and the reissue took ten days each time, as for our poor solicitor they were fed up of the sound of my voice by the end of the process and admitted that this kind of problem was the norm with Abbey.
I did complain and after three letters of complaint, the first two were ignored, we did get compensation but nowhere near enough to make up for the hassle and stress, needless to say once our current deal ends we will switch lender and I strongly advise anyone to consider things carefully before going with Abbey for a mortgage.