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Nationwide Says Pretax Profit Rises, Won’t Follow Lloyds

Nationwide Building Society, the U.K.’s biggest customer-owned lender, said fiscal full-year pretax profit rose more than fourfold as it extended more loans to homebuyers.

Pretax profit for the year through April 4 climbed to 677 million pounds ($1.1 billion) from 168 million pounds in the year-earlier period, the Swindon, England-based lender said in a statement today. Gross mortgage lending climbed 31 percent to 28.1 billion pounds as Britain’s housing market boomed.

Nationwide, which controls about 15 percent of the U.K. home-loan market, said that while London and the southeast led gains in house prices during the year, there are “few signs” of affordability being stretched elsewhere. The company said it won’t follow Lloyds Banking Group Plc, the country’s largest mortgage provider, in imposing limits on lending to homebuyers to help stem the gains in London.

“We did consider whether we should follow suit but ultimately we’re not as big players in the central London market,” Finance Director Mark Rennison said by telephone. “The impact of making the same change as Lloyds would have been negligible.”

Nationwide said it added more than 430,000 checking accounts during the year. It also met the Prudential Regulation Authority’s target ratios for leverage and common equity Tier 1, a measure of financial strength.

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