UK lenders cutting back on unsecured loans, says Bank

UK banks and building societies have told the Bank of England they expect to tighten up on non-mortgage lending to households in the coming three months.

In the Bank’s survey, lenders also said the availability of unsecured credit to households had fallen during the the third quarter.

The criteria for granting both credit card and other unsecured loans was also tightened during the period.

Lenders expect unsecured lending to fall again in the fourth quarter.

During the third quarter of the year, lenders reported the biggest cut in the availability of unsecured loans since the third quarter of 2009, as the proportion of unsecured credit applications being approved fell significantly.

Unsecured loans are considered more risky than ones secured against an asset.

The findings follow concerns that some households are at risk of over-stretching themselves, amid speculation over a possible rise in interest rates from their current record low of 0.25%.

The survey – conducted between 21 August and 8 September – takes place as part of the Bank’s role to maintain stability.

The report also found that mortgage availability increased slightly in the quarter to September.

Lenders particularly looked to attract those borrowers with bigger deposits of 25% or more.