The eight largest lenders covering 70 per cent. of the mortgage market—HBOS, Nationwide, Abbey, Lloyds TSB, Northern Rock, Barclays, RBS, HSBC—have agreed in principle to support the new scheme. We are now working with a wider group of lenders to finalise the scheme implementation plans and agree the draft Master Guarantee. All lenders will be invited to sign-up to the scheme in due course. RBS have confirmed that they will actively participate in the scheme once details are finalised.
We expect the Homeowners Mortgage Support Scheme to be open for business with the first lenders in April now that the Banking Act, which is the legislative vehicle we have used to enable us to do this, has gained Royal Assent. The draft Master Guarantee is currently with lenders.