Santander increases Q1 gross lending by a third

Santander UK saw its gross mortgage lending rocket by 33% in Q1 2012, but is unable to say whether the increase came from direct or broker business.

The lender carried out £5.6bn of gross lending in the first three months of 2012, compared with £4.2bn in the same period last year.

Its net lending in the first three months of the year was £200m, compared with -£600m in the first three months of 2011.

In its results, the lender says it has tightened its risk appetite in the retail mortgage market and is originating less business for high LTV and interest-only deals.

As a result it expects its mortgage stock to contract over the year.

Its results say: “In March 2012, Santander UK announced it was tightening its lending criteria on interest-only mortgages as part of a range of actions to further improve the credit quality and profitability of the mortgage book.

“Mortgages and savings continued to be a core component of the retail offering, through both direct and intermediary channels. The current cross-tax year savings range offers customers attractive rates for term deposits and we continue to leverage our direct channels to attract and retain good quality mortgage lending.”

But a spokeswoman for the lender says it is unable to say whether the increase was a result of heightened direct lending because it has not revealed this information in its Q1 trading statement.

David Sheppard, managing director of Perception Finance, says: “I was surprised by the lending figures. If you were to compare its lending in Q1 2012 to last year it seems strange it has had an uplift because its rates were more competitive last year.

“And for Santander not to be able to say where the increase came from is also strange.”