Mortgage lenders pull back from lending – roundup

Mortgage lenders are reducing or pulling out of new mortgage lending owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barclays has withdrawn over 60 mortgage products, most of which comprise of deals over 60% loan-to-value. The lender has pulled out of portfolio buy-to-let entirely, while it is also restricting lending volumes.

Specialist lenders Vida Homeloans and Together, as well as West Brom Building Society, have gone further, entirely halting new loan applications.

Vida clarified that non-bank lenders aren’t protected by liquidity facilities provided by the Bank of England and Treasury, which makes it hard to keep lending.

Meanwhile Santander, Halifax, NatWest and Pepper have all suspended physical valuations.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, over the weekend you’ll have seen that restrictions have been put in place across India that means our key location sites have closed.

“This has resulted in a reduction in our overall capacity, which coupled with the fact we have continued to receive high volumes of applications over recent weeks, means that this is having an operational impact on our business and the service that we’re offering to our customers.

“So we’re making some adjustments to our products and support functions to ensure that we can service our customers as best way possible, under the unprecedented circumstances.”

Anth Mooney, chief executive of Belmont Green Finance, parent of Vida, said: “As we are treated differently from the high street banks, we have taken swift and decisive action to protect our business.

“All other non-bank lenders are facing into similarly difficult choices right now, as they weigh the tough challenge of maintaining customer access against the imperative of securing a sustainable future for their people and business.

“This is an industry wide challenge, not one that we face alone.”

Meanwhile Together said in a statement: “At this time, given the general uncertainty, it is difficult to provide any degree of clarity on the potential implications to Together arising from Covid 19 or the government’s and/or regulator’s current or future responses to tackling the situation.

“We continue to manage the company on a prudent basis and to monitor the situation carefully. We will provide further updates as and when appropriate.”