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Commonwealth sells off New World to West Brom

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is pulling out of the UK residential mortgage market after just over a year and is selling its NewWorld business to West Bromwich Building Society.

The bank says after reviewing development opportunities in the UK it has decided to concentrate on fund management, under the First State Investment brand, and institutional banking.

NewWorld unveiled its range of flexible and buy-to-let mortgages, sold mainly through intermediaries, in Nov-ember 2000 with a high-profile advertising campaign.

West Brom, which has assets of £3.5bn, has bought the entire residential portfolio and the NewWorld brand which will become the channel for its intermediary business.

The NewWorld portfolio will be managed by subsidiary West Bromwich Mortgage Company, which will have assets of £400m when the acquisition completes.

West Brom general manager corporate finance Andrew Messenger says: “The two main reasons for the acquisition are to purchase a well established brand name and to grow our assets. We are quite acquisitive and have two to three more in the pipeline.”

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