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Abbey in challenge to HBOS as lending soars

Abbey has moved closer to toppling HBOS from its position as the UK’s biggest lender after its share of net lending soared to 26 per cent in the first half of 2008.

The Spanish-owned bank saw total net mortgage lending jump to £8.3bn in the first six months, more than double its figure of £3.6bn in the same period last year.

HBOS reveals its own results this week and is likely to remain the biggest lender but Abbey will have overtaken its rival in terms of the number of net new mortgages written this year.

Abbey says gross lending rose by 16 per cent to £19.5bn in the first half from £16.8bn last year. Its estimated share of the gross lending market is now 12.9 per cent.

In the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ league table of the biggest lenders for 2007, published this week, HBOS maintains top position with a 20.1 per cent share of gross lending compared with 21.2 per cent in 2006.

Abbey remains in second position with 9.8 per cent, up from 9.4 per cent in 2006. Nationwide jumps from fifth place to third, gaining a 9.3 per cent market share compared with 6.1 per cent in 2006.

Difficult market conditions mean the league table could see a big shake-up in 2008.

Abbey admits that its growth in market share is due partly to the withdrawal of other providers from the market and it expects a lower share in the remaining part of the year.

Brentchase Financial Ser- vices mortgage specialist Mike Fitzgerald says: “HBOS has always been a big player in the mortgage market. It will not take this lying down as it is protective about its mar- ket share.”

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