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Santander says to participate in UK's Help to Buy scheme

(Reuters) - The British arm of Spanish bank Santander will participate in a UK programme to help people buy their own homes, Chief Executive Ana Botin told Reuters on Wednesday.

The scheme, known as Help to Buy, allows home buyers to put down a deposit of as little as 5 percent and gives banks greater protection against losses. It also allows them to set aside less capital than against a normal mortgage.

"We are going to participate. The programme was originally meant to begin in January so we will try to advance that. We will announce the details on how we will participate closer to the date when we will be launching," Botin told Reuters after speaking at an event in London.

State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds will start offering loans under the scheme this week, and HSBC said it will offer Help to Buy mortgages for customers with a 5-10 percent deposit later this year.

(Reporting by Steven Slater; editing by David Evans)

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