Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of China Ltd., the nationâs third-largest commercial lender, will seek to âcherry-pickâ prime borrowers as it expands into real-estate lending in the U.K., according to the head of the bankâs British retail unit. âBefore the financial crisis you didnât have a choice, you couldnât cherry-pick the good customers,â Xixu Sun, chief retail banking officer at Bank of China U.K. Ltd., said in an interview in London. âNow you have that choice, because thereâs a drought in terms of mortgage loans provided by banks.â The Chinese state-owned bank is looking to win so-called prime customers with good credit histories who are struggling to get mortgages from Britainâs traditional real estate lenders, Sun said. U.K. mortgage approvals plunged to about 48,000 in June, less than half the 108,000-a-month average between 2003 and 2007, according to Bank of England figures. âThereâs a gap, particularly for the high-end market,â said Jaap Meijer, a banking analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd. in London. âThe big banks have been very restrictive on lending.â The average U.K. house price dropped 11 percent to 191,423 pounds ($316,000) in the 12 months to June, the Department for Communities and Local Government said last week. Bank of China, which has about 7 billion pounds of assets in the U.K., is expanding lending beyond its traditional market among Britainâs ethnic Chinese community, Sun said. Four mortgage distributors, including Savills Private Finance Ltd., and 15,000 brokers will sell the bankâs home loan products, he added. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ak0_XSLa0aaU Good luck with that !