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Nationwide lending at four-year high

Nationwide’s gross residential mortgage lending in the six months to 30 September rose 15 per cent year-on-year to its highest level in four years.

Announcing its interim results, chief executive Graham Beale told Reuters the building society it is interested in purchasing the 316 Royal Bank of Scotland branches up for sale after a proposed transfer to Santander fell through.

Between March and September 2011 the lender advanced £8.9bn, which increased to £10.2bn in the six months to 30 September this year.

Nationwide’s market share is now 14.4 per cent as at 30 September, up from 12.4 per cent a year earlier.

Nationwide chief executive Graham Beale says: “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 per cent to £10.2bn.”

Mortgage customers in more than three months arrears accounted for 0.70 per cent of its mortgage book, down from 0.73 per cent a year earlier. The Council of Mortgage Lenders average is 1.93 per cent.

Profit before tax was £124m, down 48 per cent from £238m in 2011.

Additionally, the lender set aside of £45m to cover the cost of misselling of payment protection insurance, bringing its total provision to £131m.

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