Banking giant HSBC published details today of a plan to set aside a minimum of £15 billion for mortgage lending in 2012 – some £3 billion of which will be specifically earmarked for first-time buyers.

The bank estimates that around 150,000 current mortgage-holders and over 27,000 people yet to be home-owners will benefit from the new policy, which will ultimately give HSBC over 11 per cent of the UK mortgage market share.

Lending criteria for its mortgages are set to remain the same, a spokesman said, rejecting claims that a wider range of mortgage deals would lead to more restrictive criteria, although the spokesman did admit that HSBC has “always had relatively conservative lending criteria.”

The spokesman went on to say that HSBC is committed to assisting first-time buyers and has found that its maximum 90 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) deal proving very popular.

The bank’s head of lending Martijn van der Heijden added: “In 2011 we offered UK borrowers some of the most competitive rates around and we plan to continue this in 2012.”

“While some estimates suggest mortgage lending in the UK will fall this year, HSBC has no intention of closing its doors to customers, nor will we compromise our reputation for responsible lending.”

Earlier in the week, the Co-operative Bank’s dedicated intermediary lender Platform announced that it will be increasing its mortgage lending aimed at the buy-to-let sector by 33 per cent, with plans to lend at least £600 million.

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