December 2011 figures for the main high street banks

"December’s £9bn of new mortgages was the strongest month of last year, being 12% higher than in December 2010. However, at the same time, the household sector generally is focusing on debt repayment amid inflated household expenses and a continuing air of uncertainty, so we see a reluctance to let net borrowing rise, with people preferring to use their bank account cash for expenditure. Business prospects are even more attuned to the state of the economy in the UK and in overseas trading markets, with borrowing intentions for growth or investment plans generally staying on the back-burner.”

Paul Hunt, managing director of Phoebus Software said: “The fall of GDP in the final quarter of last year makes these BBA numbers are all the more remarkable. Those who complain lending volumes are still far below the long term average should count their blessings. Stop-start growth in the UK economy and potential disaster in those of our main trading partners could have caused lenders to button up their wallets and head for the hills. Instead, the high street banks boosted their net lending activity 1.5% last year and last month injected 12% more into the property market than they did in December 2010. This is a show of defiant confidence in the UK’s economy and lenders should be commended for it”.

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