UK bank Abbey National is to take a minority shareholding in IFonline Group, a provider of technology for mortgage intermediaries.
Under the agreement-in-principal, the bank will use Trigold and IFonline systems to provide mortgage intermediaries with online mortgage sourcing, application, case tracking and compliance solutions.
The move pits Abbey against rivals Halifax, Nationwide and Alliance & Leicester, which have taken a majority stake in Mortgage Brain (MBL), with the aim of developing a common electronic trading platform for mortgage brokers and intermediaries.
Ambrose McGinn, director of retail e-commerce at Abbey National, says: "We have taken a considered look at the market and listened carefully to intermediaries, who have told us they want choice, and do not believe that a single trading platform will be beneficial to them."
"FSA CP98 will require intermediaries and lenders to spend considerable time and money on compliance. IFonline's proposed 'compliance shield solution' will provide a more workable approach to the new regulation," adds McGinn.
The IFonline Group was formed in February 1999 to provide technology, compliance, infrastructure and mortgage processing for both lenders and intermediaries. The company currently has over 70 lenders signed up.