Woolwich cashback can pay legal fees

The cashback was originally intended exclusively to repay exit fees.

The change to the terms of the cashback offer comes after Eddie Goldsmith, senior partner at Goldsmith Williams, claimed brokers he had spoken to were unable to appoint independent legal representation for their clients on the deal.

But David Finlay, Woolwich intermediary business director, has now confirmed that the cashback can be used to pay independent legal fees if the borrower chooses to appoint their own lawyer in addition to Woolwich instructing its panel solicitors.

He said: “There’s no need for the customer to appoint their own lawyer as our solicitors oversee the transaction, which on this product is a straightforward transition of the mortgage balance from one lender to another – but that’s up to them.

“The £300 cashback on the deal is given to the borrower towards any exit fees and Early Repayment Charges but should they wish to use it for other purposes – including to pay independent legal fees - that’s their choice.”

Goldsmith welcomed the move and said: “I asked David for clarification, which he kindly provided, confirming that the appointed lawyer is there to represent the bank’s interest, whilst the £300 cashback is intended to offset the cost of any exit fee, rather than legal or financial advice.

“If customers wish to use any part of that £300 to appoint their own lawyer, then they are perfectly at liberty to do so.”

“Brokers are traditionally wary of fee free deals and I couldn’t begin to count how many calls we have received from our brokers preferring to avoid that route. At least this Woolwich product now allows customers to appoint their chosen lawyer to look after their interests.

“David Finlay has taken time to clarify the position quickly, which I think sends out a positive message to brokers and customers that the Woolwich is trying to do the right thing.”