Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Bankers disappointed - lending not rising fast enough

Perhaps it is my weird sense of humour, but I found the most recent statement from the British Bankers Association vaguely amusing:

"In August, net mortgage lending rose only by £2.1 billion; less than half the average rise over the previous six months. The number of approvals for house purchase was again very low and those for remortgaging also fell. Consumer credit rose by £0.4bn in August, slightly above the previous 6 month average of £0.3bn. Personal deposit growth continued to be weak and the annual growth rate declined by 0.7% to 4.0%."

Despite all this talk of a credit crunch, lending is actually still rising. However, it is not rising fast enough for the banks. A £0.4 billion increase in consumer credit just does not do it for these guys. They want UK households to be diving deeper and faster into the debt morass.

The simple fact is that we need to see both consumer credit and mortgage lending fall significantly. UK households are carrying far too much debt. If the level of debt is to fall, then it follows that personal debt growth rates must be negative.

I know that this will be a disappointment to Britain's bankers, but it really must be this way. We need less household credit, not more.

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