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Third UK Mortgage Lender Sets Up In Gibraltar

by Jason Gorringe,, London

13 November 2002

It was announced yesterday that Leeds & Holbeck Building Society, the UK's eighth largest building society (S & L) with assets exceeding £4.3bn, is establishing a presence in Gibraltar, making it the third such financial institution to establish a base on the Rock.

Leeds & Holbeck was formed in 1875 and currently has more than 560,000 members. It has 60 branch offices in the UK and the move into Gibraltar represents the Society's first venture outside the UK. The Building Society views Gibraltar as a springboard for further expansion into Europe.

The Society will initially offer a range of competitive mortgages to Gibraltarians and British ex-patriates. Once the Gibraltar operation is successfully established, it will expand its operations in 2003 to lend in Spain and to take deposits.

Keith Azopardi, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Trade, Industry & Telecommunications, welcomed the establishment of another reputable UK building society in Gibraltar.

He commented: "Government is delighted to make this joint announcement with the Leeds & Holbeck. The establishment in Gibraltar of a further UK building society is good news for Gibraltar. Leeds & Holbeck joins the ranks of the well-known and very reputable banking institutions that are already established on the Rock. We wish them all the very best in their new business venture and assure them of the Government's wholehearted support in promoting and expanding their newly-established presence."

Ian Ward, Leeds & Holbeck's Chief Executive, said: "This is a major strategic development and an exciting new venture for the Society. The decision to open in Gibraltar was taken after careful market research identified excellent business opportunities. We are delighted to be here and look forward to playing our part in the Rock's vibrant financial sector."

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