Northern Ireland

Detailed Northern Ireland bank lending figures released

Detailed figures on how much banks are lending to households and businesses in Northern Ireland have been published for the first time.

At the end of 2013 total outstanding loans were just over £24bn while deposits amounted to £18bn.

The information released by the British Bankers Association (BBA) includes data from Ulster Bank, Danske, First Trust and Bank of Ireland.

It also includes the lending from Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Santander to small and medium firms in Northern Ireland.

Households had borrowings of £7.3bn, the vast majority of which - £6.5bn - was mortgages.

Deposits held by households amounted to £10bn, of which £6.9bn could be withdrawn on demand.

Businesses had borrowings of £16.5bn; that consisted of £2bn in overdrafts and the rest in loans. Business deposits were £8bn.

The service sector, which accounts for about 50% of Northern Ireland's economic output, had 35% of total business borrowing, which amounts to £8.5bn.

The sector with the next largest borrowing was construction, which had 15% of outstanding loans amounting to £3.5bn.

The figures show that in both the third and fourth quarters of 2013 net borrowing by households and businesses fell.

However the BBA said the figures also show that new lending to small and medium firms was up by an annual rate of around 40% in each of those quarters.

Taken together those figures suggest that both businesses and consumers are still trying to reduce debt but that growing companies are able to borrow.

Anthony Browne, the chief executive of the BBA, said the publication is 'a very important moment.'

He added that more transparency will give everyone "a clearer understanding of how the province's economy is performing" and help regulators and policymakers.

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