RBS retail boss says 'Help to Buy' concerns are valid

LONDON Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:04am EDT

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LONDON Oct 17 (Reuters) - Concerns over the British government's 'Help to Buy' mortgage guarantee scheme are valid but the government is right to pursue the initiative, Royal Bank of Scotland's retail banking boss told Reuters on Thursday.

Lloyds Banking Group's Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said this week the scheme should be focused outside London and the south-east of England where house prices are booming and some bank executives believe the 600,000 pound ($955,800) limit on the scheme should be lowered.

"I think it's always valid to raise those sorts of concerns. There are always things you need to be careful and wary of," Les Matheson told Reuters on the sidelines of the British Bankers Association's annual conference.

RBS, which is 81 percent owned by the government, was one of the first banks to join up to the scheme and Matheson said it will enable the bank to help 25,000 customers buy homes.

"I think we feel it's incumbent upon us to be as helpful as we can both to the British economy and to the government. We feel that it's something we need to do to help the economy," Matheson said.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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