HSBC will increase its mortgage lending by 20% in 2009. Mortgage data showed last week that UK banks had approved the fewest mortgages since 1999.

As the bank prepares to set aside £15bn (nearly twice as much as in 2007), the managing director says that it has ‘no intention of closing its doors to customers’ next year.

Paul Thurston says: ‘We remain open for business to the tune of £15bn.’

Banks in the UK have faced pressure to increase lending to small businesses amid the economic downturn following the Government’s £37bn bail-out of the sector, which did not include HSBC.