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04 Mar, 2008

Tanya Powley - 04-Mar-2008

Skipton Building Society subsidiary Amber Homeloans has confirmed it is to close to new business as a result of the liquidity crunch.

It says it will now concentrate on managing the company's existing portfolio of loans and will be honouring all of its pipeline business. It says it will be notifying brokers of the withdrawal of its products along with notice of when final applications will be accepted.
Up to 42 members of staff are now entering a consultation period but a spokeswoman for Skipton insists that not all of this number will result in redundancies.

Managing director Gordon Jolly will be taking a role on Skipton's operational board as general manager responsible for the society's credit and lending function.

Finance director Paul Gittins will head up the team administering the existing loans.

Jolly says: "Amber was created six years ago as a specialist lender, with the aim of building its business through the origination, buying and selling of mortgage assets. Thanks to a fantastic team, we've been phenomenally successful at this and, even though it was never our intention to grow beyond a certain size, now have a balance sheet of £1.5 billion.

"However, many of the ways in which we temper our level of risk are currently closed to us, such as securitisation and asset trading, and so we've decided it's time to pause for breath and wait until the market returns to more normal conditions."

The firm says that there will be opportunities for the majority of affected staff to take up positions with other subsidiaries of Skipton, such as Homeloan Management, or the Society itself.

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