* Paragon says no certainty deal will be concluded
* Shares in Paragon up 1.4 percent
LONDON Dec 3 British buy-to-let mortgage
specialist Paragon is looking to buy Hampshire Trust, a
private bank which offers funding to property developers and
solicitors, Paragon said on Monday, a move which would give it a
retail banking licence.
Paragon issued a statement in response to a report in The
Sunday Times which said it was in exclusive talks to buy the
business from the National Counties Building Society.
The acquisition would enable Paragon to gain a banking
licence and start offering savings accounts to customers.
Paragon said there was no certainty a transaction would be
concluded, however. Shares in the company, which have risen by
over 60 percent since May, were up 1.3 percent at 243.4 pence at
"It is likely that the greatest attraction of the business
is the retail deposit-taking licence. This would allow Paragon
to diversify its funding away from wholesale bank and
securitisation facilities," said analyst Mike Williamson of Peel
Paragon has performed strongly during the economic downturn
with buy-to-let mortgages in demand as landlords take advantage
of a booming rental market while first-time home buyers struggle
to get on the housing ladder. The company has expanded through
acquisitions as mainstream lenders sell off loans.