Business

Mortgage and business lending falls in October

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Image caption The fall in borrowing in October has been described as 'disappointing.'

The number of people taking out mortgages with UK banks has fallen slightly, according to the industry.

The British Bankers Association (BBA) said 42,808 loans were approved in October, a dip of 375 on the figures for September.

The figures also show that the number of loans to businesses has declined once again.

Analysts said it was "disappointing" after a large rise in business lending in September.

The BBA figures for mortgage lending still show a large increase over the last 12 months, of 33%.

But the small monthly decline may be the result of some lenders becoming more cautious.

"Lenders are wary about extending mortgages to households with fragile finances, and against homes that look overvalued," said Matthew Pointon of Capital Economics.

It may also be that some homebuyers put off taking out a mortgage last month, until the details of the government's mortgage guarantee scheme became clearer.

'Setback'

Business lending fell back by £940m in October, following a rise of £2.5bn in September.

That was the largest increase in nearly five years.

Howard Archer, the chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said it was too early to say whether October's figures were just a correction to the jump in September.

"But it is nevertheless a setback to hopes that the banks are now becoming more prepared to lend to businesses, given the improved economic situation," he said.

He said it also raised questions about the changes to the government's Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which was extended in April to encourage lending to small and medium-sized businesses.

The BBA also reported that unsecured borrowing, including personal loans and credit cards, rose by just £12m in October.

That was the smallest increase since March.

Howard Archer said this might be due to people "temporarily easing back" on borrowing ahead of Christmas.

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