Fears for building societies as private lenders take up market space


There are fears for building societies, as the mortgage war between the biggest lenders, puts them under high pressure and restricts their market share.

In addition, regulation squeezes on home loans have made trading more difficult.

The banks are all lending at rock bottom rates at the moment, and even opening up ten year fixed rate mortgage deals. This is drawing away the market from building societies, which are only financed through deposits.

The banks have managed to push down the interest rates on the average mortgage with a 25 per cent deposit to 2.08 per cent. This record low contrasts the rate in the summer which was 2.6 per cent, showing how quickly interest rates are dropping.

In general, however, a lot of first time buyers will not want to go for mortgages with such high deposits, being one of the biggest obstacles for people buying their first home to overcome. First time buyers schemes’ like the Help to Buy Equity Loan through building societies may help to keep them in business.

One of the biggest mutually-owned banking institutions, the Co-operative, had to be bailed out in 2013. The loss of these kinds of banks are quite worrying, because of how it restricts the British lending market and will help promote a monopoly of privately owned lenders.

A quarterly survey of financial firms found that more building societies had experienced a fall in the volume of business during the last quarter of last year than had seen gains, a worrying sign.

Last year’s mortgage market review could also be to blame for the struggles of the building society, making it more difficult for them to lend, and possibly even pulling potential customers off becoming first time buyers at all.

Hopefully the market shares going to the big lenders won’t be so significant that the mutually owned lenders won’t go out of business, but at the moment, the future is looking desperate for them.

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