Lenders plan biggest cutback in consumer credit since recession

Credit cards are harder to come by as banks tighten up their lending criteria under pressure from the Bank of England
Credit
Philippe Wojazer  REUTERS

Credit cards are harder to come by as banks tighten up their lending criteria under pressure from the Bank of England Credit Philippe Wojazer REUTERS

The latest figures suggested that lenders were heeding warnings from the Bank about spiralling household debt.

The BoE's net balance of lenders' expectations for the availability of unsecured lending over the next three months fell to -28.6 from -16.2, signalling the steepest contraction since the fourth quarter of 2008.

United Kingdom consumer credit growth is slowing and lenders expect the biggest decline in consumer credit availability since the financial crisis in the last three months of the year, a Bank of England survey revealed on Thursday.

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While the consumer credit market remains swollen compared to recent years, annual growth eased below 10% in July and August for the first time since spring last year, falling to 9/8% in July and August, the Bank said.

The Bank of England said lenders reported that "unsecured credit to households decreased in Q3" and that they "expected a significant decrease in Q4".

She said: "We're quite concerned about the consumer squeeze".

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The criteria for granting both credit card and other unsecured loans was also tightened during the period.

In contrast to the figures on unsecured lending, banks and building societies expected the availability of mortgages as well as business loans to be broadly steady.

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