HSBC defends decision to stay out of bank scheme
HSBC insisted it is "fully committed to helping the UK economy recover", despite its failure to sign up to the Bank of England's Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).
The bank said it had boosted lending to mortgage borrowers and businesses by 11 per cent so far this year to £38.3 billion, while it increased its share of the mortgage approvals market to 14.5 per cent from 11.6 per cent last year.
The group approved £15.6 billion in loans to mortgage borrowers in the first nine months of the year, which is 22 per cent higher than a year earlier, including £4 billion in gross lending to first-time buyers, up by a third year-on-year.
But despite its pledge to help the economy, HSBC is the only one of the UK's "big six" lenders not to have signed up to the FLS, which offers cheap funding to banks and building societies on the condition they increase lending.
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HSBC said it did not need to take part in the scheme, as it funds its lending through retail savings deposits. It has already pledged to lend at least £17 billion to mortgage borrowers in its current financial year, including £4 billion to first-time buyers and more than £12 billion to small and medium sized businesses.
Antonio Simoes, head of HSBC in the UK, said: "This year we have lent a significant amount to both our business and individual customers, and our market share has continued to grow in a challenging environment."
He added: "We are fully committed to helping the UK economy recover and prosper and we will continue to support our customers through the coming years."
HSBC also lifted gross new lending to small businesses by 10 per cent to £9.5 billion and said it approved more than eight in 10 small business loan applications.