HBOS has seen a dramatic rise in mortgage lending over the first six months of this year.Brokers believe the UK’s biggest lender is unlikely to be hit by the emergence of new players in the market because of its vast size and reputation. HBOS reported an increase in gross lending to 35.2bn from 27.6bn over the same period last year, representing a gross market share of 22 per cent, up from 21 per cent last year. The company’s net lending market share leapt to 21 per cent from 14 per cent. Intermediary managing director Nigel Stockton claims that BM Solutions is now a top-five lender in its own right while figures from The Mortgage Business show applications up by 87 per cent and gross advances up by 57 per cent to 1.7bn. The results come despite the departure of a number of senior executives over the past 12 months. Stockton says: “It shows that the company is stronger than any individuals.” Savills Private Finance managing director Mark Harris says: “This is not a surprise. Nigel Stockton has done a good job and HBOS has such vast scale that the emergence of new lenders will not harm it.” HBOS has also hit back after its retention payment plans were criticised by GMAC chairman Stephen Knight, who claimed last week that fee incentives could lead to brokers abusing TCF principles. Stockton says: “Stephen has an agenda as retention moves will have an impact on GMAC. Brokers understand they still need to shop around.” He has confirmed that Bank of Scotland will launch a retention scheme next year, once the Halifax and BM schemes have been assessed.