Belfast Telegraph

Nationwide's record mortgage lending due to £80bn scheme

By Annabelle Dickson

Building society Nationwide has said its mortgage lending soared to a four-year high as the Bank of England's £80bn scheme helped reduce rates for borrowers.

Nationwide reported a 15% hike in gross mortgage lending to £10.2bn in the six months to September 30, with loans to first-time buyers nearly doubling.

But the mutual revealed its half-year underlying pre-tax profits fell 17% to £151m after it put by a further £45m to settle claims relating to mis-selling of controversial payment protection insurance (PPI). The further PPI provision has taken the total amount set aside by Nationwide to £173m.

It said profits were hit as it suffered losses of £193m on pre-credit crunch lending to the commercial property sector, compared with £72m in loan losses last year.

Its lending figures will make for encouraging reading at the Bank of England, which jointly launched the Funding for Lending scheme with the Treasury earlier this year in an attempt to help ease the flow of credit to borrowers.

Nationwide said net mortgage lending more than doubled in the first half, up from £1.4bn to £3.2bn, with almost a third of its lending in the first half to customers buying their first home.