Abbey non-conforming speculation fuelled

Ramesh Sharma

March 4, 2006

Abbey’s owners, Banco Santander Central Hispano, has said in the past it is looking to increase the number of services it offers and MI has been informed it is now looking to follow the likes of Alliance & Leicester into this market.

The industry source said: “I spoke to a good friend of mine at a senior level at Abbey. We talked about the non-conforming market and he confirmed Abbey is going to enter the sector and that it is just ironing out the details.”

If Abbey does open up into non-conforming, it would not only offer further evidence of Banco Santander’s ambitious plans for Abbey, but also the increasing importance of the non-conforming market to lenders.

However the source believes Abbey will find it very difficult to establish itself in the market. He said: “It looks very easy to enter but you have got to be very flexible as there’s a lot of competition in the market and some of the rates on offer are almost as good as prime.”

However, Joe Wiggins, media relations executive at Abbey, said the lender had no plans to enter the market but is expanding its mortgage range. He explained: “There are no current plans for Abbey to enter into the non-conforming market in the immediate future. We said last year that we were looking to go into areas of the specialist mortgage market, such as buy-to-let and new-build, where we are under-represented. This will be happening in late 2006 and early 2007 but at the moment there are no plans to enter the non-conforming market sector.”

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