November 2, 2017 / 6:49 PM / a year ago

VW explores UK banking licence ahead of Brexit

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen's logos are pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is exploring applying for a full UK banking licence so that it can continue to offer car loans after Britain leaves the European Union, the German automaker said on Thursday.

The company confirmed comments to the Financial Times by David Maloney, chief executive of its UK financial services arm, that discussions were underway with the Prudential Regulation Authority. These may lead to an application.

“It would diversify our funding sources whilst helping to alleviate post-Brexit uncertainty and ensure we continue to provide lending products”, Maloney told the FT.

Volkswagen’s loan book in the UK is worth 15 billion pounds ($19.6 billion), larger than any other carmaker’s in-house financing arm.

Prime Minister Theresa May has set a deadline for Britain to leave the European Union by March 2019. With negotiations dragging, concerns are growing of a “hard” Brexit that would leave little time for businesses to adjust.

($1 = 0.7661 pounds)

Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Douglas Busvine, editing by David Evans

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