Big six grip on market slackens

The latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that the market share of Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Barclays, HSBC, Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland combined was at its lowest point since the height of the market in 2007.

In its newsletter the CML said: “The six largest lenders as a whole reduced their lending in absolute terms as well as falling from £117bn in 2011 to £111bn last year.

But the CML said this drop disguised substantial movement amongst the individual players as both Nationwide and HSBC grew their lending by 24% whilst the other four all shrank their new business volumes most significantly Santander, which saw a planned contraction in gross lending of 38%.

As a result, although the top six names are all still the same, the individual rankings have seen something of a reshuffle. Nationwide and HSBC climbed to become the second and fourth highest volume lenders respectively last year. Santander, consistently number two in the gross lending table since 2005, moved into fifth place.

There was plenty of healthy growth outside the top six coming from long-established lenders such as the Coventry, which grew by 26% to become the seventh largest lender in the UK last year and new names such as Tesco Personal Finance which lent £300m in the year placing them at joint 20th.

And the mutual sector grew as a whole. Even after removing the substantial growth seen by Nationwide other mutuals within the top 20 grew in share by a combined 2%.

Overall mutuals in the top 20 accounted for 24% of total gross lending up from 19% in 2011.