Northern Rock sees busiest quarter since credit crunch

Northern Rock has had its busiest quarter as a mortgage lender since the credit crunch two years ago, lending £1bn in the three months to the end of September.

But the nationalised lender, which is to be split into a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bank before being sold off, is continuing to suffer a rise in the number of customers falling behind on their mortgage payments.

In the third quarter 4.11 per cent of its mortgage customers were three months or more late on their repayments compared with an industry average, compiled by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, of 2.42 per cent.

The lender blames its problems with arrears on the Together product sold by the previous management which allowed customers to borrow up to 125 per cent of their value of their home.

Northern Rock chief executive Gary Hoffman stressed that the bank was trying to avoid repossessing the homes of customers facing payment difficulties:

‘We continue to invest a lot of effort in our approach to debt management and to providing the best possible support we can in all circumstances’, he said.