Nationwide to start lending to business after bumper year for mortgages
The UK’s largest building society Nationwide has said that following a year of increased lending to homeowners, it is planning to start lending to businesses
Nationwide’s mortgage lending rose by 44% to £18.4bn in the year to April 2012. The number of loans to first-time buyers also increased by 9% to 24,000.
The building society says that it is now ready to begin lending to small businesses and SMEs
, which have been hit particularly hard by the current economic climate.
The decision to begin lending to business again has been prompted by requests from customers.
“We're already a lender to the commercial real estate sector – we've been asked by customers to provide them with a corporate lending facility," said the Nationwide’s Chief Executive, Graham Beale.
Many SMEs say there is currently a lack of credit available from lenders
to small-and medium-sized business, despite the government launching Project Merlin
to encourage high street lenders to address the problem by providing loans to SMEs.
“We just feel it's a natural extension of what we can do,” Mr Beale added.