Barclays said yesterday it was 'wide open' for new mortgage business at a time when other lenders were reining back because of the credit squeeze. Financial Times

Frits Seegers, chief executive of Barclays’ global retail and commercial banking division, told investors yesterday that the bank was well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity.

The UK’s third largest bank has cut the time in which it made UK mortgage offers from 11 days to five days because of processing improvements.

Barclays took 9.3% of net new mortgage lending in the second half of 2007 – its highest level for at least three years – compared with 4.5% in the second half of 2006.

The bank’s move comes as other rivals with smaller balance sheets have reduced their lending because of more expensive funding in the wholesale markets.