Lenders tightening up on non-mortgage lending, Bank of England survey finds

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Banks and building societies are tightening up on non-mortgage lending to households and snipping the length of interest-free periods, according to a Bank of England survey.

The length of interest-free periods for balance transfers on new credit card lending was reported by lenders to have decreased slightly over the past three months - the first fall since this question was first asked at the start of 2015.

But the length of interest-free periods for purchases on new credit card lending was reported to have increased slightly in the third quarter.
The proportion of non-mortgage credit applications being approved has fallen significantly in recent months, the report found.

Lenders said the availability of non-mortgage credit to households decreased in the third quarter of this year and was expected to see a "significant" decrease in the next three months.

Credit scoring criteria for granting both credit cards and other types of non-mortgage loans tightened further in the third quarter - while the proportion of unsecured credit applications being approved fell significantly, the report said.

The findings in the Bank's latest Credit Conditions Survey follow mounting concerns that some households are at risk of over-stretching themselves amid rising living costs and speculation over a possible rise in the base rate from its current low of 0.25%.

There were signs that some households are finding it more of a struggle.

Default rates on credit card lending were reported to have increased slightly in the third quarter, while those on other unsecured lending increased significantly, the Bank said.

The survey among banks and building societies takes place as part of the Bank's role to maintain stability. The latest survey took place between August 21 and September 8.

The survey also found that mortgage availability increased slightly in the three months to September, with lenders particularly looking to attract borrowers with bigger deposits of 25% or more as they look to meet market share objectives.

The overall availability of credit to the corporate sector was found to be unchanged in the third quarter.

Lenders reported a fall in demand for corporate lending for businesses of all sizes, and small businesses in particular. Demand levels from businesses were expected to be unchanged in the coming three months.


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