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NR plans to cut its volumes by £40bn

Northern Rock is understood to be planning to reduce its gross mortgage volumes by £40bn in the next three years.

The reduction of its £106bn back book is believed to be just one of the proposals in the bank’s application to the European Union’s Competition Commission, which has yet to be made public.

NR is required to submit the application by March 17 to secure continuing state aid.

The recently nationalised bank is thrashing out a number of initiatives to reduce its mortgage book, including rebroking its existing business.

A source close to NR says it is mulling over the possibility of releasing client data to brokers to enable them to rebroker deals with other lenders. It might even create a dedicated sales force to do this.

The source says: “NR’s thinking is that in the next three years it might not be able to generate profit so it’s looking to create alternative sources of income to enable it to return to private ownership as soon as possible.”

And it is understood that NR is considering repayment charges as a key source of income.

Mortgage Strategy has been contacted by a number of brokers whose clients have been advised by NR to remortgage with other lenders.

One broker claims to have been offered a redemption statement for his personal mortgage two months before the end of its term.

He says: “The danger is that average borrowers may think these statements are requests for them to exit their loans. This misunderstanding could lead to them paying unnecessary early repayment charges.”

A spokeswoman for NR says: “We don’t normally send out redemption statements early.”

She adds that the letters NR has sent to existing customers make deal expiry dates clear.

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