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RBS mortgage lending down as bank posts £1.5bn loss

Gross mortgage lending at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was a fraction down during the first half of the year, with the bank as a whole posting a loss of £1.5bn in this period.

Gross new mortgage lending in its core UK business totalled £7.7bn during the first six months of the 2012, according to its half-year results, a nudge down on the £7.8bn recorded in the same period last year.

New mortgages had an average LTV ratio of 65.4% during the first half of the year, up from 63% in 2011, while gross new lending to first time buyers was up 26% on H1 2011.

The total mortgage portfolio held by RBS is now approximately £98bn, an increase of 1.7% from the total recorded at the end of 2011.

The number of mortgages more than three payments in arrears fell from 1.6% to 1.5% of its portfolio, with 4.7% of mortgages subject to some form of forbearance during the past six months.

The bank as a whole, which is 83% owned by the UK taxpayer, saw its first-half losses grow significantly, from £794m in H1 2011 to £1.5bn this year.

The report said that a payout of £125m to customers who had been affected by computer difficulties in June and the £50m set aside for customers claiming they had been mis-sold interest rate swaps contributed to the loss.

The full loss attributable to shareholders of £1.99bn, worse than the £1.43bn seen last year.

The bank also saw its income dip, although only marginally, in the face of the eurozone crisis and the global slowdown, from £14.5bn last year to £13.2bn.

Excluding the writedowns, the group said core operating profit had also dipped from £1.97bn to £1.83bn.

The bank is involved in the LIBOR scandal which rocked peer Barclays recently, but today there was little news on the ongoing investigation by regulators.

RBS said: “The LIBOR situation is on our agenda and is a stark reminder of the damage that individual wrongdoing and inadequate systems and controls can have in terms of financial and reputational impact.

“This is the subject of ongoing regulatory investigation but our customers and shareholders should be in no doubt that we are taking it seriously.

“These issues together are hard to deal with but just as necessary a part of change from the past as the restructuring of our balance sheet.”

Royal Bank of Scotland was recently overtaken by Nationwide Building Society as the fourth biggest lender in the UK.


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