2nd Sep 2014 Back to top
  • BBA Brief – 2 September 2014

    Complaints against British banks fall

    The Telegraph reports that, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the number of complaints against British banks has fallen by 42% in the first half of 2014 due to a decline in the number of complaints for mis-selling insurance. In the first 6 months of 2014, PPI complaints have gone down to 134,000, from 266,000 in the same period last year. However, the Mail (p10) writes that many complaints are being “processed industrially as a number” and says that a “growing proportion” of complaints are rejected by the banks.

    In response to today’s FOS figures, a BBA spokesman said: “There have been steps in the right direction, but at the same time the number of these cases still remains too high. The industry will continue to work with the FCA and the Ombudsman to maintain a good standard of complaints handling and deliver the service customers deserve.”

    EU proposed new funding rules for banks will make equity swaps more expensive  

    According to a letter from the Global Financial Markets Association and the Institute of International Finance, the newly proposed funding rules of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision would make it “five times more expensive for banks to facilitate short selling” (FT, £, p1). The proposed rule, the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR), aims to ensure that banks hold a minimum amount of stable funding based on the characteristics of their assets. The letter says banks have “serious concerns” about the treatment of equities under the NSFR regime, saying it could “significantly increase transaction costs across equity markets for all participants”.

    Mortgage lending goes down as the Mortgage Market Review takes effect

    The Times (£, p43) writes that according to the Bank of England figures released yesterday, home loan approvals went down from 67,085 in June to 66,569 in July. The Times also suggests that this data “tells a similar story to that of the British Bankers’ Association”, which last week released data showing that “high street lenders had handed out fewer mortgages to households last month as the impact of new rules to control riskier borrowing continued to filter through”. The Bank’s figures also showed a £3.4 billion rise in net lending to households in July, the highest since 2008.

1st Sep 2014 Back to top
  • BBA Brief – 1 September 2014

    SME lending up for third month

    This morning the Bank of England released their monthly monetary and financial statistics, Bankstats. The figures for July showed an increase in net lending to small and medium-sized businesses for the third month in a row.

    Commenting on the figures, a spokesman for the BBA said:

    “These figures show that the net lending picture for Britain’s smaller businesses has been positive for three consecutive months. It’s heartening that fewer firms see access to finance as an obstacle to their business aspirations.

    “Banks are in the business of lending and this is good news for the economy. We encourage any business to consider applying for credit to help them grow, export or take on new staff.”

    Cyber attacks on US banks

    Attacks on US banks by financial “Trojans” has tripled in the last year, according to the FT (£, p19). This increase has prompted the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and US secret service to announce an inquiry. It is not clear who is behind recent attacks or what they were seeking but according to the article, bank websites, automated clearing houses and payroll systems are being targeted. Orla Cox, a security operations manager at Symantec, said: “The attacker is interested in financial consumer data but also, a lot of times, information on M&A and other stuff along those lines can be potentially interesting for reasons of corporate espionage, gaining competitive advantages.”

    See the BBA’s report on cyber security – The cyber threat to banking: A global industry challenge – here.

    CBI calls for action on airports

    The CBI today urges the Government to take urgent action to expand Britain’s airports, with “spades in the ground by 2020”, the Telegraph (B1) reports. The business lobby group maintains that a single hub airport is necessary alongside spare capacity to add new routes.

    A Whitehall-commissioned report by the economist Sir Howard Davies is set to deliver its recommendations on how Britain should expand its airports after next May’s election.

    Katja Hall, the CBI’s deputy director general, said: “There can be no more excuses – we need to see the Airports Commission deliver a strong case for new capacity and a clear schedule for delivery.”

    The BBA will be producing a new report on infrastructure later in year.

  • BBA response to today’s Bank of England Bankstats

    Commenting on the latest Bank of England monthly Bankstats, a BBA spokesman said:

    “These figures show that the net lending picture for Britain’s smaller businesses has been positive for three consecutive months. It’s heartening that fewer firms see access to finance as an obstacle to their business aspirations.

    “Banks are in the business of lending and this is good news for the economy. We encourage any business to consider applying for credit to help them grow, export or take on new staff.”

30th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • BBA response to Which? report on overdraft fees

    Responding to the Which? report entitled ‘Consumers frustrated by unauthorised overdraft fees’ the BBA’s Executive Director of Retail, Eric Leenders, said:

    “Across the board overdraft charges have plummeted since 2008, with estimated consumer savings of up to £928 million over the past five years.

    “Banks are keen to help customers compare account charges in a variety of ways, from making charges easier to understand to providing useful online calculators and mobile apps. They also itemise charges on bank statements and use text alerts to communicate important account information instantly.

    “We agree with Which? that the Government’s midata initiative is an important new way for customers to compare costs. From next April all the major banks will make information about customers’ current account use available to them in downloadable spreadsheets.”

28th Aug 2014 Back to top
  • BBA Q2 2014 SME lending statistics release and response to latest FLS

    Commenting on the publication of the Bank of England’s Q2 Funding for Lending Scheme statistics and the BBA’s latest figures on lending to SMEs, BBA Executive Director of Business Finance Irene Graham said:

    “BBA figures out today show that we are starting to see a pickup in borrowing by small and medium sized businesses.  It is also encouraging to see that the Funding for Lending Scheme is continuing to be used to help businesses. Companies are also increasing their cash reserves, which suggests that the sector is in a healthy position.

    “The majority of businesses who approach their bank for a loan are successful and if they are not there is a process in place that allows them to appeal the decision. We’d encourage business owners thinking about borrowing to approach their bank to learn about the range of financing options that are available.”

  • Bank support for SMEs – 2nd Quarter 2014

    Key Points:

    • £7.4 billion of new SME borrowing was approved in Q2, 16 per cent more than in the same quarter last year and the highest quarterly amount since 2011. This increase in borrowing was broadly-based across industry sectors and geographical regions. Demand from medium-sized businesses was notably stronger in Q2, leading to a net expansion in their borrowing.
    • The average value of borrowing facilities approved has been rising for some time and Scotland, Wales, the North West, Yorkshire & the Humber, the East of England, the East Midlands, the South West and London all saw more new borrowing approved than in either the previous quarter or in the same quarter a year earlier.
    • SME holdings of cash are continuing to rise strongly. Deposit levels are up 9 per cent year-on-year and now exceed borrowing by more than £43 billion.

  • 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.”