Commenting on the Bank of England’s Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions, BBA Chief Economist Richard Woolhouse said:
“Today’s agents’ summary makes it clear that credit conditions are improving. In particular, lending to smaller firms appears to be increasing and some sectors where credit had previously been very tight are now able to access bank finance more easily.
“That’s very important. We need businesses of all sizes to be confident about borrowing because that helps them invest and supports economic growth.
“The summary also underlines that the Mortgage Market Review is considered to be behind the slowdown in the housing market and supports the view that new regulation is partly responsible for this cooling.”Read more
Responding to the results of the Bank of England’s stress testing exercise of the UK banking system, BBA Executive Director Simon Hills said:
“These tests confirm that the UK’s banking industry is in a much stronger position and that the recent reforms are working.
“The majority of our major banks would be able to weather even the severest of storms and appropriate action is being taken to make all banks more resilient.
“This is good news for customers because it means that banks should be able to continue to perform their necessary functions of taking deposits and giving out loans, even if the UK experiences a severe downturn.”Read more
The main banking providers have agreed with HM Treasury to do more to help basic bank account customers – including those who are vulnerable – avoid triggering fees and charges.Read more
Banks, auditors and hundreds of thousands of businesses, charities and other organisations will be able to harness a new online service, BBA Confirmations, to make auditing safer, faster, more secure and less stressful in the New Year. This new service should cut response times by up to 90% saving hundreds of thousands of businesses valuable time.
The Association of British Insurers, the BBA and the Building Societies Association today announce approval of the ‘Simple Product’ framework. This is in line with the recommendations set out in the Sergeant Review (March 2013) which made the case for Simple Products – a suite of financial services products with standardised features that are easy to understand and transparent.Read more
Responding to the Autumn Statement, BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne said: “More than a million customers used the new Current Account Switch Service to move to a different bank in the last year – with the latest figures showing a 22% rise in switches. It’s good news that more businesses will be able to use this service and that customers will have even greater protections in the future.
“Banks contribute more than £25 billion each year to the nation’s public finances – enough to pay the salaries of around half a million nurses. It is absolutely right that this important industry pays its fair share of tax, but it is important to note that where banks have offset losses they have done so legally, just as all other businesses can.
“The industry will work with the Treasury to implement these new rules.”Read more
Commenting on the latest Bank of England monthly Money and Credit statistical release, BBA Chief Economist Richard Woolhouse said:
“These figures show a pick-up net lending to small and medium-sized businesses, with gross borrowing hitting £5 billion for the first time in two years.
“At the same time a boost in demand for personal loans and credit cards indicates people are feeling confident about the economy and looking take on new finance for bigger purchases.
“Another drop in mortgage approvals indicates that we are now experiencing a cooling of the housing market, which is no bad thing given previous concern about the pace of property price rises.”Read more
Commenting on the publication of the Bank of England’s Q3 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 continue to show a pick-up in borrowing by small and medium sized businesses. The Funding for Lending Scheme has played its part in that. Companies are also increasing their cash reserves, which suggests that the sector is in a healthy position. The majority of businesses that approach their bank for finance are successful and if they are not there is a process in place that allows them to appeal the decision. We would encourage business owners thinking about borrowing to approach their bank.”Read more
Richard Woolhouse, Chief Economist at the BBA, said:
“Today’s figures suggest that the cooling of the property market has continued in recent weeks. Approvals were 16% lower in October than in the same month last year – the corresponding figure for September was a 10% decline.
“Despite softening in the housing market, consumers continue to show confidence in the economy with unsecured borrowing at its highest growth rate in years.
“At the same time we all continue to make the most of new ISA rules, stashing more in our savings accounts over the course of the last year.”Read more
Responding to the EU Advocate General’s opinion on the EU bonus cap legislation, a BBA spokesman said:
“We continue to support the Treasury’s challenge to this legislation. There have already been sweeping changes made to the way that bank staff are paid since the financial crisis. Bonuses are smaller and staff are rewarded for making decisions that benefit businesses, shareholders and the broader economy.
“We believe that shareholders should be given powers to determine staff pay – not politicians. That’s why banks consult with investors before setting staff pay and shareholders also have the power to vote on the pay of senior bankers.
“We believe this law runs counter to recent reforms and will make the system less robust by incentivising firms to increase fixed pay. It also puts European banks at a disadvantage when competing with firms in other parts of the world.”Read more