German investment bank WestLB is planning to enter the UK mortgage market and build up a mortgage book worth several billion euros in the next few years, according to a report in The Times.

The bank has hired former Bradford & Bingley board director Ian Darby to head its business, Basinghall Finance, the newspaper said. WestLB will offer mortgages and buy packages of existing home loans from banks and building societies through independent financial advisers.

The operation will be managed through Home Funding, another WestLB subsidiary, headed by Tony Ward, the former chief executive of Britannic Money.