Mortgage Express used to be the specialised mortgage lending arm of Lloyds TSB, which has traditionally been regarded as one of the big four banks in the United Kingdom. It was different to other businesses in that it focused on helping borrowers that would otherwise struggle taking out a home loan such as self-employed citizens and those with negative equity.
Lloyds TSB bought the business back in 1986 but it suffered badly throughout the 1990s. The uncompetitive rates and high risk portfolio did not fare well throughout the housing recession of that decade.
In the late 1990s, Lloyds TSB decided to sell Mortgage Express and get it off its hands. They no longer believed that it would be a good fit for the company — especially since they had also acquired the building society C&C which offered a more successful mainstream mortgage lending service in comparison to Mortgage Express.
Mortgage Express was then subsequently bought by the building society Bradford & Bingley based in the northern county of Yorkshire.
It proved to be a great investment for Bradford & Bingley. The housing market had just begun a boom that would last for a whole decade. Bradford & Bingley were able to offer mortgages to high risk customers that other banks would not consider and charge higher interest rates than what is usually the norm. The company was valued at £3.6 billion at the peak of its success.
Bradford & Bingley began developing Mortgage Express into a niche provider of mortgages- focusing on specialised lending such as buy-to-let and self-certification mortgages.
Bradford & Bingley then turned its attention towards the international money market in order to extend their success by lending even more money. However, the success in this difficult market turned out to be short-lived. House prices soon began to fall once again and mortgage arrears rose in succession. This economic downfall meant that one in every 43 customers at Mortgage Express and Bradford & Bingley ending up falling behind after being unable to keep up with their mortgage repayments. The company simply did not have the money to be able to manage sustaining that failure, as they were also in debt themselves.
In 2008, following the economic collapse and the recession, the bank was partly nationalised with Mortgage Express being handed over to the publicly owned Bradford & Bingley plc. The rest of it was sold off to Santander. Mortgage Express no longer accepts new business since this process. Mortgage Express now only caters for existing customers who already had their mortgage issued to them and had begun the repayment process.
Subsequently, following the loss of its mortgage arm, Bradford and Bingley suffered greatly. Most of the bank is now known as Santander UK, since the sale to Groupo Santander, with the Bradford & Bingley name only relating to the nationalised section of the bank which is rarely used.
However, Mortgage Express does a good job of providing services to its existing customers in order to make sure that they are comfortable with the state of their mortgage.