In a further sign that competition is returning to the mortgage market, new data released today reveals that the UK's top six lenders lost some of their market share during 2012.
Since the financial crisis – and exacerbated by the wave of market consolidations that followed – the lion's share of lending has been concentrated heavily amongst the six largest lenders. But whilst this was still the case in 2012, the top six's combined share of 77% was substantially down on the 81% seen in 2011, and is in fact lower than at any point since the height of market activity in 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
While there has been no change to who the top six lenders are, individual rankings have seen something of a reshuffle.
Lloyds Banking Group continues to be the country's biggest lender, but Nationwide Building Society has climbed up the list, from fourth in 2011 to second position last year.
Barclays Bank retains its place as the third largest lender, while HSBC has jumped two spots, from sixth position in 2011 to fourth in 2012.
Santander, consistently number two in the gross lending table since 2005, moved into fifth place, while Royal Bank of Scotland dropped from fifth to sixth position.
The data also reveals that the building society sector increased its market share significantly last year, with mutuals in the top 20 accounting for 24% of total gross lending, up from 19% in 2011.
Additionally, Tesco Personal Finance appeared in the top 20 for the first time, with its estimated lending reaching £0.3 billion in 2012, accounting for a market share of 0.2%.
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