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RBS maintains mortgage market growth as price war hits margins

  • 04/08/2017
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RBS maintains mortgage market growth as price war hits margins
RBS completed £14.5bn of new gross mortgage lending in the first half of 2017 – broadly in-line with its return of £14.7bn during the same period last year.

The bank reported this had given it 12% of the UK mortgage lending market during the six months to June, an apparent stabilising of its new position as the UK’s third biggest lender.

However, RBS noted that the price war within the market had cut its mortgage profit margin.

RBS said its net interest margin for UK personal and business banking “declined by 10 basis points to 2.97% driven by lower mortgage margins and reduced current account hedge yield”.

It noted that mortgage growth had driven an increase in its net loans and advances by £1.8bn across its personal and business banking and commercial and private banking divisions to £277.7bn.


Online renewals

RBS added that 19,000 borrowers had renewed their mortgage online in the last six months and the investment in a paperless process has cut the time to issue a firm offer in half to around 10 days.

“H1 2017 lending growth has been achieved while remaining within our risk appetite,” the bank said.

“Personal mortgage lending represented 49% of net loans and advances, compared with 47% as at 31 December 2016, while personal unsecured and commercial real estate were flat over the first half at 4% and 8% respectively.

“Overall loan-to-value across our mortgage portfolio was stable at 58%,” it added.


Return to profitability

Overall the bank announced an operating profit of £939m for the first half of 2017 compared to a loss of £2bn during the same period last year.

It allocated £369m in legal costs, largely due to mis-selling of US mortgages and announced it was planning to make its EU base in Amsterdam in preparation for Brexit.

RBS CEO Ross McEwan said: “Our progress in the first half of the year means that today we can spend less time talking about the bank we were and more about the bank we are becoming.

“We have continued, at pace, to build a simpler, safer and even more customer-focused bank that has now delivered two consecutive quarters of bottom line profit – totalling £939 million.

“We’re doing what we said we would at our full year results in February – growing income, reducing cost and improving returns for shareholders, while also starting to deliver a better service for customers.

“We see the first six months of this year as proof of the investment case for this bank: our path to sustainable profitability is becoming clearer and closer and we have resolved some of the most significant issues this bank faced,” he added.

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