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Nationwide hits highest lending levels in four years

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Nationwide Building Society


According to its interim results statement, the mutual society lent £2.5bn to 20,000 first time buyers in the six months to September 2012, double the amount lent to first-timers in the previous year.

Nationwide said that a third of all its new lending during this period was to first-time buyers and it now accounts for 18% of the first-time buyer market.

Total gross residential mortgage lending was up 15% to £10.2bn, giving Nationwide a 14.4% share of the market. Net lending more than doubled to £3.2bn.

The lender looks likely to leapfrog Barclays in terms of gross lending in 2012, making it the third biggest UK lender after Santander and Lloyds Banking Group.

Nationwide added that its recent withdrawal of interest-only mortgage products was ‘prompted by the wider market response to regulatory concerns with respect to interest only lending’.

The lender said the number of residential mortgage accounts in more than three months of arrears had fallen to 0.70%, less than at year end and less than 40% of the average industry level of 1.93%.

Graham Beale, chief executive at Nationwide, commented: “At Nationwide we have continued to demonstrate our success, living up to our promise of being on the side of our customers.

“The first half of the year was our highest six month mortgage lending period for four years.

“We have more than played our part in supporting the UK’s economic recovery by increasing our lending activities, with our gross mortgage lending increasing 15% to £10.2bn. Within this, £2.5bn was lent to first time buyers, more than double the equivalent lending of a year ago and helping 20,000 borrowers buy their first home.

“We have continued our focus on delivering outstanding service to our customers, with all of our employees being incentivised to offer the highest possible standard of service. Our ongoing focus has paid off, and I am delighted that over the first half of the financial year we have been rated as top of our peer group for combined product service satisfaction.”

In its results statement the lender said that the government’s Funding for Lending scheme was having a mixed impact on its business, but that the bank would continue to focus on the mortgage market in the remainder of the financial year.

“The Funding for Lending Scheme is having a significant impact on mortgage pricing, with very attractive rates on offer to borrowers,” it said.

“The impact on savers is less positive, as savings rates have fallen steadily in response to the reduced demand for retail balances across the market.

“We expect to see each of these trends to continue to be reflected in our performance during the second half of our financial year, during which we will maintain our focus on supporting the residential mortgage market, hard pressed savers, broadening our banking product suite and delivering excellent service to our customers.”


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