In the US, most banks don’t really provide a comprehensive service online especially when it comes to tools. In the UK, most banks are pretty decent, however it’s still the independent sites that provide information for most consumers. For example mortgage help from We Know Money is mines better than most UK banks such as Natwest or Barclays.
In the US, the leading advice sites on mortgages have started reappearing, now that the whole Lehman Brothers issues are being tackled by investment firms. The USA.Gov site has a decent source of information on mortgages.
The key differences from the UK to the US:
- Most UK Banks Market the services heavily and mortgage lending is encouraged.
- The UK government often allows for concessions in the mortgage market, but doesn’t offer them directly, unlike federal mortgages in the US – mortgage lending is left to banks mostly in the UK.
- Some banks such as Wells Fargo do market their mortgages, especially online, more than the average US bank.
- In the states these are often known as real estate loans, and the online market is dominated by brokers, not banks – however in the UK the market is lead by large affiliates and then by banks and then brokers.
- Pricing is more transparent in the UK than the US, where the market is controlled by brokers and not retail outlets, or affiliates.
- In the US, each state may have its own lending laws, while in the UK these are standardised.