NatWest chief says mortgage demand stays robust


NatWest chief government Alison Rose stated mortgage demand remained robust with no “sign of stress” within the financial institution’s mortgage guide, regardless of rising prices for debtors.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ European monetary convention on Thursday, Rose stated the excessive avenue lender’s mortgage enterprise was rising however famous an “increasing trend” in direction of five-year fixed-rate mortgages, as extra debtors sought to lock in charges for longer.

Rose stated the financial institution had not but picked up early warning indicators from the mortgage guide, comparable to a rise in revolving credit score services or increased name volumes to monetary help traces, however NatWest was “mindful” of inflation.

The rush by debtors to beat additional rate of interest rises as inflation hits excessive ranges has left UK lenders struggling to course of new mortgage purposes, with many withdrawing or repricing merchandise.

Lloyds Bank, which has the most important share of UK mortgages, this week elevated the speed on a few of its fixed-rate residence loans by as much as 0.81 proportion factors, in line with finance web site Moneyfacts.

Data from the Bank of England confirmed that UK mortgage approvals in April had fallen to the bottom degree since June 2020, though analysts stated demand for remortgaging remained robust.

In April, NatWest stated it had referred 2,100 prospects to charity Citizens Advice over the previous yr and had offered recommendation to 50,000 small enterprise homeowners on find out how to take care of rising power costs.

Rose famous that NatWest had “significant excess capital” and would contemplate acquisitions. The lender has a typical fairness tier one ratio — a measure of a financial institution’s reserve power — of 15.2 per cent.

“I’ve been very clear that my preference is to distribute capital to shareholders,” she stated. “I’ve also said we would look at M&A if it’s going to drive compelling shareholder value and our business continues to generate capital.”

Shares within the financial institution have been buying and selling nearly flat on Thursday, however have been 2.2 per cent decrease within the yr to this point, having not totally returned to their ranges earlier than the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK lender, previously often known as RBS, was majority owned by the federal government till March after a £46bn bailout on the peak of the monetary disaster.

Rose stated it had capability to broaden the retail enterprise, notably within the bank card market, in addition to the wealth division by acquisitions.

The lender is because of launch a purchase now, pay later product in the summertime, getting into an more and more aggressive sector with fintechs, conventional lenders, neobanks and Big Tech entrant Apple.