UK consumers 'playing waiting game', say banks

Calculator and newspaper
Image caption Demand for home loans remains weak, according to the banks

Consumers are adopting a "wait and see" attitude to their finances with demand for loans remaining low, according to the High Street banks.

Individuals and businesses were saving more, paying off debt and borrowing less owing to uncertainty about the economy, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) said.

Demand for home loans was weak in April, the BBA said.

Repayment of personal loans also outstripped new borrowing by £181m.

Housing market

The lack of demand for home loans was evidence of consumers' safety-first approach, the BBA said.

The number of mortgages approved for house purchases fell by 6% in April, compared with the previous month, to stand at 29,355. This was 18% lower than a year earlier.

There was also a fall in the number of people switching to a new deal. There were 20,844 remortgaging approvals in April, which was 12% lower than in March and 7% down on a year earlier.

"Individuals and businesses continue to save more, pay off debt and borrow less as uncertainty about the economy has entrenched a wait and see attitude," said BBA statistics director David Dooks.

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