Mortgage merry-go-round as speculation mounts over lender sales

Speculation has continued to mount on the sale of A&L, after Crédit Agricole confirmed its interest in the lender. Recent speculation linked Abbey owner, Banco Santander, with a move for A&L while Crédit Agricole said it was not ruling out the possibility of its own move for the lender.

A spokesperson for Crédit Agricole said: “The Group remains focused on its strong organic growth prospects and incremental acquisitions in Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

"At any one time the Group may also review selected larger opportunities and in so doing will maintain its strictly disciplined evaluation approach. In this context, Crédit Agricole is assessing A&L, among others, but would note that its evaluation is at a preliminary stage. We have not made any proposal to A&L and there can be no certainty that any proposal will be made.”

Rumours suggest that B&B is also being eyed-up by potential suitors, with Banco Santander allegedly interested in the lender.

Commenting on the B&B speculation, Tony Jones, managing director at Pink Home Loans, said: “Although I’ve heard nothing specific, I can see that such an acquisition would be a good move for Banco Santander. It appears to be looking to increase its distribution and a takeover of Bradford & Bingley – with its extensive branch network, regional sitting and strength in specialist market – would fit its model quite well.”

Alliance & Leicester said it would not comment on industry speculation, a statement repeated by a spokesperson for Bradford & Bingley.