Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Abbey grabs 1 in 4 new mortgages

Abbey branch
Abbey has been increasing its share of the mortgage market

Abbey has seen a massive increase in its share of the UK mortgage market, claiming it supplied over one in four new home loans issued in 2008.

Abbey said that it accounted for 28.9% of net mortgage lending last year, compared with just 8% in 2007.

The UK's second biggest lender said pre-tax profits jumped over 20% last year to 991m (1.1bn euros), up from 822m (924m euros) in 2007.

Abbey is owned by the Spanish banking group Santander.

Santander had earlier announced annual profits of 8.9bn euros (7.9bn), up 9.4% on 2007.

Santander has not been affected as much as other banks by the financial crisis as it was not exposed to toxic US subprime assets.

Abbey has taken advantage of the shrinking mortgage market in the UK, with rivals, including Northern Rock, withdrawing their products.

Abbey also said it had seen an increase in savers turning to the bank. It opened 572,000 new accounts during the year, saying it is perceived as a "safe haven for UK depositors".

Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, reported a 3.5bn loss on Thursday, its first ever annual loss.

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