Bradford & Bingley and Freeserve take the hassle out of house-buying

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Bradford & Bingley, the UK’s second largest building society, and Freeserve, the UK’s leading internet portal, have launched a wide-ranging partnership, under which:

• Charcolonline, the UK’s leading online mortgage broker, will offer mortgage choice to 3.4 million unique users of Freeserve

• Freeserve and B&B are to be founding partners of the first next generation online property channel

• B&B will provide wealth management and independent advice for Freeserve members

• Freeserve and B&B partnership will extend Freeserve customer base and web-enable Bradford & Bingley customers.

Charcolonline is the UK’s leading on-line mortgage broker and a subsidiary of B&B since February this year. It will have exclusive rights to offer a choice of mortgages from over 45 lenders to the 3.4 million unique users of Freeserve.

The new property channel allows home buyers to search an extensive database of houses for sale, including from B&B’s own network of 370 estate agency branches. The 50:50 equity joint venture will be the first UK property channel that aggregates properties for sale from a wide base and provides for all customer needs when buying a house. It will be launched to Freeserve’s 3.4 million established users in the autumn. B&B will promote the channel to its customers in over 600 building society and estate agency branches and on sale boards throughout the UK.

John Pluthero, chief executive officer of Freeserve, said: “This partnership is designed to remove as much hassle as possible from the stressful experiences of moving house and securing your financial future. By partnering with Bradford & Bingley our members will have at their disposal a huge selection of products and services from the UK’s leading independent financial adviser and mortgage broker.”

Christopher Rodrigues, chief executive officer of B&B, said “We have a clear strategy of providing choice and advice to our customers through a choice of channels to suit them. It is a logical move for us to offer these services online, and we are delighted to be creating this wide ranging partnership with Freeserve, putting our products and services before their 3.4 million unique users.”

Freeserve is the UK’s leading portal with an integrated offering of UK-focused content, e-commerce services and free internet access. The company has approximately 2 million accounts and in May 2000 recorded over 150 million page impressions. It was launched in September 1998 as part of the Dixons Group, Europe’s consumer electronics retailer. Freeserve distributes its access software through Dixons’ network of over 1,000 Dixons, Currys, PC World, The Link and @jakarta stores.

Bradford & Bingley has more than three million customers, assets in excess of £24 billion and 600 owned retail outlets covering the UK. The group also comprises mortgage broker John Charcol and Charcolonline, the online mortgage application service. Bradford and Bingley Group is the largest high street provider of independent financial advice with more than 630 qualified advisers.

Charcolonline is the on-line arm of the UK’s leading independent mortgage adviser, John Charcol, which deals with around £40 million of mortgage business per month.

Launched in November 1999, charcolonline was the UK’s first integrated on-line mortgage service. It combines on-line mortgage search, product selection and on-line application.

Charcolonline is completely independent and offers 463 products from the 47 of the UK’s top lenders, over 80 per cent of the UK mortgage market in terms of assets. John Charcol was acquired by Bradford & Bingley in February 2000.

Freeserve

Bradford & Bingley

Charcolonline

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