Abbey grabs lending lead
Abbey is poised to topple Halifax as the UK’s top lender of new mortgages after revealing first half results today that showed the Spanish-owned bank now writes one in three new mortgages in Britain.
As rival lenders withdrew mortgage deals from the perilous credit market, Abbey’s share of new lending rocketed to 35 per cent in the three months to end of June, taking net mortgage lending to £8.3bn.
Abbey’s net lending market share hit 26 per cent, well above its traditional share of 9 per cent.
But a spokesman for the bank, owned by Spain’s Santander, said it expected that share to fall in the second half of 2008 and that HBOS would remain the largest player in the UK mortgage market.
Abbey’s financial performance outdid competitors in the mortgage market, with profits rising 20 per cent from the first half of last year, to £485m.
Chief executive Antonio HortaOsorio said: “We held back our market share during the first-half of last year when the market was writing low margin and higher-risk business.
“Since then the market has reduced and we have taken the opportunity to take higher margin, low-risk business.”
Trading expenses at Abbey were up slightly, but restructuring costs were significantly lower, reflecting the final stages of the bank’s restructuring programme.
Abbey’s parent company Banco Santander revealed first-half profits of €4.73bn (£3.72bn), an increase for the lender of 22 per cent on last year.
The Spanish bank agreed a £1.3bn takeover of Alliance & Leicester earlier this month.