By Daniel Hunter

Mortgage lending by mutuals was worth £3.6m during May - an increase of 28 per cent on the same period last year.

Members of the Building Societies Association also report a 50 per cent rise in lending to first-time buyers in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2012.

“This growth in lending demonstrates the present capital and liquidity strength of many societies," Stephen Williams, head of the Building Societies Practice at Deloitte, said.

"Societies will continue to be active and growing supporters of the private rental sector, through buy to let, and social housing lending to housing associations as a means to support their communities’ wider housing needs.

"While societies will remain strong supporters of aspirant first-time buyers, and provide a range of loans with smaller deposits in their product ranges, these will be part of a broader based set of housing finance options for their saving and borrowing members.”

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