Part-nationalised bank plans small-firm friendly multi-user cell

Lloyds Bank is set to formally launch its offer under the prime minister’s flagship 100,000-home NewBuy mortgage guarantee next week in a move the industry hopes will give the troubled scheme fresh momentum.

As Building first revealed last month, the government has initiated last ditch talks with banks and housebuilders to rescue the NewBuy mortgage guarantee following banks’ reluctance to lend to the scheme.

The scheme, designed to offer 95% mortgages backed by a £1bn government guarantee to buyers of new build properties, was launched with some fanfare by prime minister David Cameron on 12 March.

But just three lenders - Barclays, Natwest and Nationwide - and seven housebuilders were involved in the scheme at launch, while only Nationwide had set up a so-called multi-user cell (MUC) that enables small housebuilders to participate.

However, Building understands that Lloyds will launch its offer next week with an MUC.

The industry hopes the involvement of the biggest lender will boost the scheme.

Santander is also expected to join the scheme in May, and is also expected to form an MUC.

However Natwest and Barclays have yet to commit to establishing an MUC, with both lenders understood to be focused on ensuring that the scheme is up and running with the major housebuilders before they open it to smaller firms.