28th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • BBA comment on the results of SME Finance monitor Q2 2014

    Commenting on the SME Finance Monitor 2014 Q2 results, a BBA spokesman said:

    “It’s encouraging that more smaller businesses are making a profit, building up cash and planning to grow. Only 8% now consider access to finance an obstacle to their future plans. The vast majority of businesses say that they’re happy with their financial situation, and those who are looking to borrow have continued to become more confident about getting finance this year.

    “High street banks approve nearly 7 out of 10 applications for lending and with an appeals process in place for those who are declined finance, we’d encourage small businesses thinking about borrowing to approach their bank to discuss the range of financing options available.”

26th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • July 2014 figures for the high street banks

    BBA Chief Economist Richard Woolhouse said:

    “The banks have been working with the Government to help rebuild Britain’s savings culture. So it’s really encouraging to see evidence of savers taking advantage of the new cash ISA regime in the latest figures.

    “Savings were a little low during the first half of 2014, but it seems people were just waiting until the new rules came into effect to invest their money.

    “Initiatives like NISA are steps in the right direction but today’s household savings ratio is half that of our parents’ generation. More still needs to be done.”

22nd Aug 2014 Back to top
19th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • Can banks use a Chinese wall to keep cyber-criminals out?

    Financial services firms have privately expressed concern that cyber security professionals are losing the war against cyber-criminals, and have agreed that dealing effectively with threats, including those already existing on private networks, is more important than trying to build walls that hope to keep them out.

18th Aug 2014 Back to top
15th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • Wise words from Which? on savings

    A report by Which? released today calls for a national savings strategy. But with nearly half of the country unhappy with how much they save, what is the best way to save up a rainy day fund? BBA Director of Media Relations Rob Watts considers Which?’s wise words and reminds us it’s not too late to submit a response to the BBA’s Future of Savings consultation.

  • Referrals – will it make a difference?

    A number of banks already refer businesses, unsuitable for bank finance, on to alternative finance providers. But a new Government proposal seeks formalise the process across the entire industry. BBA Executive Director of Business Finance Irene Graham’s blog looks at the proposal and argues that it is all about making sure businesses get the right finance at the right time.

13th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • New lending scheme will boost UK exports

    This week UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has launched an invitation for banks to partner up on its enhanced Direct Lending Scheme. The move supports the Government’s target of achieving exports of £1 trillion by 2020 and is the latest step towards realising its broader economic policy objective of “strong, sustainable and balanced growth”.

  • The doves still flutter in Threadneedle Street – but a rate rise is coming

    The Bank of England’s inflation report continues to keep commentators guessing about the precise timing of rate rises. But one thing it makes clear is that interest rates will begin to rise in the foreseeable future.  When they do, changes will be very gradual and are likely to settle at around 3% – well below the historical average of 5%.

8th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • Applying for business finance? It could be quicker than you think

    Applying for business finance can feel daunting for SME owners. With businesses to run and limited resources, many could be worried that applying for finance will eat up time they simply don’t have.

  • June 2014 – Credit Card Market

    BBA chief economist, Richard Woolhouse, said:

    “These figures suggest that British consumers have greater appetite to take on credit as the recovery takes hold. The number of payments on credit cards in June was 15% higher than in the same month last year.

    “Customers are also harnessing more interest-free offers which show they are using these cards to take more control over how they spend and borrow.

    “More than 40 per cent of all borrowing on cards incurs no interest at all. Customers clearly value the flexibility a credit card in your wallet or purse can give.”

7th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • BBA comment on ONS internet access figures

    Commenting on Office of National Statistics figures on internet access, BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne said:

    “It’s great that more people than ever are banking online. Banks are working hard to make online banking accessible to everyone and online and mobile banking mean it’s now easier than ever to stay on top of your finances.

    “It’s particularly good to see an increase in online banking amongst the over 50s who are now more likely to bank on the internet than to use Facebook or book a holiday.

    “Of course we recognise that internet banking isn’t for everyone, and that’s why across the country the bank branch network is being modernised to ensure that all customers get the best possible service.”

6th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • BBA response to the Chancellor’s speech on support for tech businesses and small firms

    BBA Executive Director, Irene Graham said:

    “The banking industry fully supports efforts to help match businesses rejected for finance with other lenders. In fact many of the banks already run programmes that refer businesses unsuited to bank finance to a range of alternative providers.

    “We are also keen that any new process should give customers as many options as possible so that they can get the right finance for their business. It is equally important that the customer’s consent and choice is kept at the centre of any future scheme.”

5th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • Big banks improving their customer’s experience faster than challengers

    The 2008 financial crisis proved a turning point in consumers' attitudes towards the world’s financial services industry. However, as recent research conducted by Grant Thornton UK LLP has found, the UK's top retail banks are responding and consumers' loyalty towards established high street pillar banks is improving. Over the past two years Grant Thornton, in collaboration with InsightNow, has produced an…

1st Aug 2014 Back to top
  • Serve the single market, not just financial services

    The EU Commission’s new President is reportedly planning to create a new directorate-general for financial services. But BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne has some reservations. A new DG could fracture the single market and lead to a flurry of new initiatives instead of giving the last tranche time to bed down. Read his blog here.

  • BBA Brief – 1 August 2014

    *Please note that this will be the last BBA brief until Monday, 1st September*  

    Nearly 40,000 people use help to buy

    Housing minister, Brandon Lewis said that via Help to Buy the Government has assisted with the purchase of up to 40,000 new homes. The Guardian (p34) reports that more than 4,000 households in England used the government scheme in June – the highest number since the scheme was launched in 2013. These latest figures are from the first phase of the scheme which offers an interest-free loan for 20% of the value of a new-build property.

    Rates may rise early, says deputy governor

    Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent has said that interest rates may rise early but any rises will be “limited and gradual” to take account for borrowers and the levels of household debt (Mail). They quoted Broadbent from an interview with Bloomberg: “The real message we’re trying to get across is that for other reasons to do with what’s going on in the global economy, investment, credit and risk premia, the level of interest rates that’s likely to be necessary to meet our objectives and the gradient of our path to get there, are likely to be lower than the previous expansions.”

    Eurozone inflation falls

    The BBC reports that Eurozone inflation has fallen to 0.4%, its lowest level since the financial crisis when prices fell to 0.1%, and into what the European Central Bank (ECB) describes as “the danger zone”. The central bank considers that inflation of below 1% risks deflation. According to the FT (£, p6) it could fall again in August, putting more pressure on the ECB to start quantitative easing.

    Banks face closer scrutiny as ECB begins clean-up

    The FT writes that losses at Banco Espirito Santo and BNP Paribas are likely to reminder the industry of “the risks posed by tougher regulation and closer scrutiny of financial balance sheets”. The losses come as the ECB begins its comprehensive assessment process, reviewing lenders’ balance sheets ahead of the launch of a banking union. James Chapell, an analyst at Berenberg told the paper: “…hidden losses in bank balance sheets continue to get uncovered, as people are unable to support those debts”.

  • What can banks do about GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker?

    The notorious GameOver Zeus malware and associated CryptoLocker ransomware are suspected to have made a return in an as of yet undetermined form. But as experts try to detangle their codes, there is a risk that people’s private banking information could be exposed to fraudsters. It falls to banks to take the right steps to protect their customers. Some efforts have already been…

31st Jul 2014 Back to top
  • BBA Brief – 31 July 2014

    Bank announces rules on remuneration and senior managers regime

    A number of papers report on yesterday’s announcement by the PRA and FCA over proposals to clawback bonuses seven years after they have been paid and jail bankers whose decisions contribute to a bank failure.

    The FT (£, p3) quotes BBA CEO Anthony Browne, who states: “It is important that any new regulation does not put British banks at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the best workers her and overseas”. The paper also notes that employment lawyers believe that clawbacks will be difficult to enforce “particularly where bankers have resigned and moved abroad”. The Telegraph (B1) also quotes Anthony, and cites a senior banking source who warns that the new regime could be a potential “gravy train” for lawyers as bankers challenge decisions made by former employers.

    The Times (£, p35) writes that the new rules will cost banks and building societies £260 million to implement. Although the rules apply to UK banks plus subsidiaries of foreign banks operating in the UK, the Independent (p51) reports that watchdogs are working on how to apply the new regime to foreign banks which are presently overseen by their home country regulators.

    Anthony appeared on BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio World at One and BBC News to discuss the proposals, whilst BBA Director of Media Relations Rob Watts was interviewed on Sky News, BBC Radio Oxford, the Voice of Russia and French Radio London. The full BBA press release reads: “One banker rewarded for failure is one too many. That’s why banks have already taken steps to right the wrongs of the last decade, cutting cash bonuses by more than 75% and fixing rewards more closely to the long-term health of the business. We also agree that clawbacks can certainly be a useful way to discourage wrongdoing and are in the interests of customers and shareholders. We’ll examine the detail of these new proposals with interest, but it is important that any new regulation does not put British banks at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the best workers here and overseas.”

    Commission president considers finance tsar

    Incoming European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is weighing up creating a new EU financial services tsar charged with regulating the financial sector, according to the FT (£, p1). Currently, EU financial regulation is overseen by the internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier. However, senior officials state that the new finance directorate would most likely include the banking and market units from Mr Barnier’s department, and combine them with the financial stability unit from the economic and financial affairs department. The FT says that banks are concerned that this will skew financial services regulation towards the Eurozone. The paper quotes the BBA’s EU caucusing report, which states: “We suggest that the UK government should proactively defend the unity of [the internal market directorate] and oppose any plan to move financial services units out of it.”

    US banks braced for outflow

    The FT (£, p16) reports that US banks face losing up to $1 trillion in wholesale deposits as the Federal Reserve reverses emergency economic policies and raises interest rates. These measures were introduced to increase liquidity and provide support for banks following the crisis.

    ECB survey shows improving lending climate

    The ECB’s quarterly lending survey reveals that banks relaxed credit standards for all types of loans in the three months to June, with the FT (£, p8) noting that this is the first time this has happened since Q2 2007. The survey also signals that demand for loans from households and businesses has continued to rise. Analysts believe that the stronger lending figures make it less likely that the ECB will take further unconventional measures such as quantitative easing.