Northern Rock announces lending rise

04 April 2006
The eighth-largest UK bank, Northern Rock, has announced a 15 per cent increase in total lending in the first quarter of 2006 when compared with this time last year.

The mortgage provider's total lending pipeline currently stands at £5.7 billion, which also represents an eight per cent rise from the beginning of this year alone.

Northern Rock's first quarter total net lending also showed a 25 per cent increase from last year, meaning the bank was comfortable with a previous £352 million forecast of 2006 post-tax profits.

The company's year-on-year figures for net residential lending is also up by 14 per cent on last year, with Northern Rock attributing a good retention performance and, perhaps more significantly from a market-wide perspective, an increase in first time buyers "drifting back" into the housing market.

Company chief executive Adam J Applegarth welcomed the positive news: "We have started 2006 strongly, with lending performance and pipeline ahead of the good numbers of the comparable period last year."

He went on: "Credit quality remains robust, with arrears well below industry averages, demonstrating the ongoing high quality of our lending."

Northern Rock's core business is mortgage lending and many of the bank's other services relate to either retail or wholesale mortgages.

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