Banks' owner promises new lending

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The owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks today pledged an additional £10 billion in new business and mortgage lending over the next two years.



National Australia Bank said its UK arm was "moving up a gear" despite revealing annual pre-tax profits for the banks had fallen by 68 per cent to £108 million in the year to September 30.

Clydesdale and Yorkshire, which advanced £4.1 billion of new lending in the year, said the difficult economic climate pushed bad and doubtful debt charges up by £246 million to £421 million.

Chief executive Lynne Peacock said the business had retained a strong capital position and was well placed to take advantage of opportunities for growth.

She said the promise of £10 billion in new lending was a "considerable commitment for a business of our size".



Clydesdale and Yorkshire said the banks' prudent approach to lending meant that the proportion of mortgages more than three months in arrears was less than a third of the UK average, at 0.8 per cent.

The business, which did not offer controversial sub-prime or self-certified mortgages, said that both banks had a "clear and enduring commitment" to support customers during the recession.

Of the £4.1 billion in new lending in the year, National Australia said £2 billion was new business and £1.8 billion was new mortgage lending.

Average gross loans and acceptances were up £2.1 billion in the year, or 7 per cent.

Ms Peacock said: "We've kept our business safe, secure and in the best possible shape by maintaining a strong capital position and supporting our customers in these challenging times. We're now moving up a gear.

"We will continue to avoid the excesses of the sector and will maintain our careful strategic approach."

National Australia has 2.7 million UK customers - up 2 per cent over the year - through Glasgow-based Clydesdale Bank, which incorporates the Yorkshire Bank brand.

The business has a total of 340 branches, consisting of 188 Yorkshire Bank and 152 Clydesdale sites.

It employs more than 8,200 full time workers in the UK, with 2,400 in its Glasgow and Clydebank operations and 1,900 in Yorkshire.

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