BBA tracks borrowing dip as finances tighten

23 May 2007
Growth in mortgage lending to individuals slowed last month to just £5 billion, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) has revealed.

Unsecured personal borrowing stayed static through April while credit card borrowing fell by £0.1 billion.

Relative falls in borrowing rates for secured and unsecured loans suggest that "people [are] paying more attention to their finances", the BBA's director of statistics David Dooks commented.

The context of high house prices and the increasing costs of monthly repayments after four successive base rate increases are finally feeding through to more constrained consumer lending figures, he argued.

"People are using money from their accounts instead of borrowing to meet their spending needs," Mr Dooks added, suggesting that the positive trend away from borrowing could have a negative knock-on effect on bank customers' current or even savings accounts.

Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that gross mortgage lending fell by nine per cent between March and April.

Higher interest rates are "now beginning to have an impact", CML director-general Michael Coogan affirmed.

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