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Bank of America aims for UK niche

Bank of America has added its name to the growing list of US investment banks targeting a move into the UK mortgage lending market.

It is looking to launch a mortgage origination arm either through acquisition or through organic growth, with brokers tipping a move into the specialist mortgage sectors.

BoA has created new positions of head of mortgage principal finance and deputy head of mortgage principal finance, with the roles to be filled by ex-Bear Stearns pair Richard Downer and Neil Warman respectively.

Both will be based in London and will report to head of asset-backed securities origination for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Steve Skerrett.

Skerrett says: “We are delighted to welcome Richard and Neil to the team. Their expertise in developing opportunities within the residential mortgage sector will help us expand our capabilities. They have an excellent track record in creating opportunities within the niche lending sector.”

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS and Wachovia Securities are all understood to be considering a move into UK lending, as are ABN Amro and Dresdner Kleinwort. A number of senior mortgage figures have been headhunted by these firms over the past six months.

UK lender Kensington is understood to be targeting a sale to a US investment bank. New lender Basinghall Finance, which launched last month, is to target the buy-to-let sector.


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Vicious circle

One of the downsides for lenders working in arguably the most competitive mortgage industry in the world is that profit margins are constantly shrinking.


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