Woolwich &#39rebalances&#39 its commercial books

The Woolwich has stopped lending to limited companies seeking commercial mortgages in an effort to “rebalance” its buy-to-let lending portfolio.

The Barclays-owned lender has stressed the need to balance its investment property-lending portfolio as the explanation for its withdrawal from the market area.

Spokesman Perry Jones told Mortgage Strategy: “We have had a change of buy-to-let policy and what we are doing is limiting some of the maximum levels we are prepared to lend to. We constantly monitor and review the whole of our lending book and policy and try to ensure that we have an even spread of lending across the book. All we are doing is balancing our mortgage book. Though we are in the buy-to-let market we are not a major player but we will do residential lending and lending through intermediaries.”

Other than ending its lending to limited companies, The Woolwich will not be making any changes to its product range or headline rates.

David Whittaker, managing director of Mortgages For Business, says: “It&#39s a logical step that Barclays considers itself a commercial-lending operation while it considers The Woolwich to be the residential side. It has handed certain aspects of its residential lending over to The Woolwich while the commercial operation has been taken over by Barclays Commercial Lending. It&#39s always a bit embarrassing when your subsidiary company is lending under significantly different parameters to your own.”

Mortgage Express spokeswoman Jane Barnes, says: “This comes as surprising news to the market which leaves an opportunity for competitors to fill the gap.”