Nationwide Will Offer Small Business Loans at ‘Right Time’

Nationwide Building Society, the U.K.’s largest customer-owned lender, said it will begin lending to small businesses “at the right time.”

“We have previously said that it is our strategic intention to enter” the banking market for small and medium-sized businesses, the Swindon, England-based lender said in an e-mailed statement today. “‘We will do this at the right time for the society and its members.’’

Nationwide had intended to begin loans to small businesses this year and will delay the plan until 2016, the Financial Times reported. The lender said on May 2012 it would offer services to small businesses ‘‘over the coming years.’’

Standard & Poor’s cut Nationwide’s credit rating on Aug. 16, citing impairments on commercial real estate loans that are harming the firm’s efforts to bolster capital. Nationwide said last month, that unlike competitor Barclays Plc, it could comply with demands from regulators to increase capital without turning to investors.

Barclays, Britain’s second-largest bank by assets, is preparing to raise 5.8 billion pounds ($9 billion) in a rights offering scheduled for next month.

-- Editors: Jon Menon, Steve Bailey