Abbey National, which is owned by Spain’s Santander, continued to take a substantial chunk of new mortgage lending in the third quarter at the expense of weaker rivals that have withdrawn from the home loans market.

Santander, which has taken over Alliance & Leicester and the savings business of Bradford & Bingley, said that attributable profit jumped 20% to £737m in the first nine months, against £613m in the same period of 2007.

The bank was helped by its mortgage lending expansion as well as a strong inflow of retail deposits as consumers sought to find a haven for their savings amid the global turmoil.

Abbey, which took 42.2% of net new mortgage lending in the second quarter, took 28 per cent in the third quarter. Net mortgage lending fell to £2.5bn in the third quarter, against £5.4bn in the second quarter.

The UK lender said slowing house prices were leading to a rise in arrears and repossessions among consumers, although its arrears and repossession rates were below the industry average. The number of properties in its possession rose to 802 at the end of September, up from 589 at the end of the second quarter.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph