Skip to main content

Who are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK?

The UK’s largest mortgage lenders are Lloyds, Santander, Nationwide, Barclays, NatWest (including former Royal Bank of Scotland accounts) and HSBC. But does bigger always mean better?
Share this guide
Biggest mortgage lenders in the uk. Building with 'bank' written on the facade in gold lettering
Who are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK?

When comparing mortgages, you might think your best bet is to seek out a deal from one of the biggest and best-known mortgage lenders. However, the mortgage market is highly competitive and some of the smaller, lesser-known lenders may well have better deals available, depending on what you’re looking for.

When it comes to the availability of deals from the largest UK mortgage lenders, not all of them have a full range of mortgage options, especially if you’re looking for something a big more niche, such as a mortgage for self-employed borrowers, or to buy an unusual property. 

Compare mortgages with Uswitch

Find the mortgage that's right for you

The largest mortgage lenders in the UK

When we talk about the largest or biggest mortgage lenders, we are usually referring to those that have a history of lending the most money, or having the most customers (market share). On that basis, according to recent mortgage statistics, the largest UK mortgage providers are:

  • Lloyds

  • Nationwide

  • Santander

  • NatWest (including Royal Bank of Scotland or RBS)

  • Barclays

  • HSBC

This corresponds to the list of the UK’s ‘big four’ banks: Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and HSBC.

Biggest mortgage lender or specialist mortgage?

Although our default position is often to seek out the biggest names in an industry when we’re looking to make a purchase, with mortgages, this is not as straightforward as you may think. The type of lender that is most likely to be able to offer the type of mortgage that you need will depend largely on your current circumstances, and what your future priorities are in terms of both your home and how you want to manage your finances.

Specialist mortgage lenders usually hire experts in dealing with specialist and unusual circumstances, such as mortgages for freelancers or those with a limited credit history. This means that specialist mortgage lenders typically have more experience in lending to those people and therefore have better knowledge and understanding of the risks. 

This means that when you apply for a mortgage from a specialist provider, they may be more likely to assist you. Many of them will tailor their product range to cater for applicants that the larger banks won’t be able to assist. 

On the other hand, the biggest mortgage lenders are more calculated and thorough when checking to see whether your application should be approved. They can sometimes have quite a narrow perception of the type of client that they are looking to serve, and this can mean criteria are stricter. 

Does the biggest always mean the best?

It depends which way you look at it, as ‘the best’ is a relative term, depending on what’s important to you. For some people, the best mortgage provider will be one that can offer them the most competitive interest rates, however, others might value the most flexible terms, the best customer service, or the ones willing to lend them the most money!

How to choose the best mortgage lender for you

Comparing mortgages is complicated and it’s hard to know what the best deal for your circumstances is without scouring the entire market. As well as being time consuming, without knowledge of the industry, it’s easy to overlook factors that may affect how suitable each mortgage actually is for your needs. 

The type of mortgage you want is also a factor in deciding which bank you choose. Some banks have better deals on fixed rate mortgages, while some have good rates on tracker or variable rate mortgages.

In some cases, speaking to a mortgage broker might be your best option. A mortgage broker can make it easier to search all of the deals available, simply due to the sheer number of deals available. There are some other benefits of using a broker versus searching online by yourself or going to your own bank, however, and these include:

  • Banks are unlikely to be impartial and can only offer you deals that they offer, whereas mortgage brokers are bound by financial regulations to help you find a mortgage that is suitable for you and your circumstances

  • Some of the more specialist lenders will only work through an intermediary (usually a broker) which means that you would not be able to access their deals as a member of the public

  • Brokers deal with mortgages every day so often have valuable experience and knowledge that the average person doesn’t have. This can be helpful when you’re looking to avoid certain terms, or have very specific needs

Lending criteria for top mortgage providers

Every single lender has their own specific set of criteria for each individual mortgage product that they offer, so it’s impossible to list criteria that will apply across the board. 

That said, the vast majority of mortgage providers will carry out both credit and affordability checks when you apply for a mortgage. Larger lenders tend to be slightly less flexible with these checks than more specialist lenders and will usually be looking for clean credit scores and standard 9-5 salaried income. 

Mortgages for bad credit or self-employed workers

Bad credit and self-employed mortgages from top mortgage lenders

If you have low or bad credit, are self-employed this could limit the type of mortgage lender that’s able to help you. There are also a variety of other reasons that you might need to approach a specific type of lender, rather than just the biggest or most recognisable name. These include, but are not limited to:

  • If you need to apply for a mortgage with a guarantor, if you perhaps don’t have a deposit, or are on a low income

  • If you want to buy a non-standard construction property - this is typically anything that isn’t a standard brick and mortar house and could include timber framed buildings, listed buildings, or flats above retail premises

  • If you’re nearing retirement age

  • If you want to build your own home

  • If you’re a high-net-worth individual

  • If you’re a portfolio landlord

There are plenty of specialist lenders that are happy to help customers in all of these circumstances, however, it’s just a case of finding the right one for you.

Read more

Person with empty wallet and no deposit for their mortgage

No deposit mortgages

No deposit mortgages are mortgages that give you a 100% Loan to Value ratio (LTV), aimed at customers who do not have a deposit to put up to buy a home

Learn more
Woman checking bank balance on her laptop and writing it on a notebook

What are the costs of remortgaging? | Uswitch

Fees associated with remortgaging fall into two main categories, those that you may need to pay in order to leave your existing mortgage deal, and those you need to pay to arrange your new one. Not all lenders will charge every type of fee, and it can be possible to remortgage with no fees at all, however, this won’t necessarily offer you the best long-term benefits. 

Learn more
Residential mortgages

Residential mortgages

Learn all about the largest and most common form of credit in the UK - a residential mortgage, helping millions of us buy homes.

Learn more