Bank says it is easier for firms to obtain credit

Ben Southwood
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ORATE and household credit conditions eased significantly over the last three months of 2012, according to data from the Bank of England.

Almost 30 per cent of lenders told the Bank that their lending conditions for firms had eased in the past three months, swinging into the positive after three quarters of negative figures.

A net balance of +14.9 per cent of lenders said things would continue to improve in the first three months of 2013.

This chimed with data for households, where lenders said secured lending conditions had eased yet again, by a bigger margin than in the third quarter. A balance of 26.2 per cent said the availability of secured credit had improved, up from 21.9 per cent who said so for the period between July and September. And a balance of 24.7 per cent expected this to go on into the first quarter of this year.

Encouragingly, the improvement for borrowers looking for credit at higher loan-to-value ratios saw an even bigger improvement than at the safer end of the market.

Improving credit conditions also touched on the market for unsecured credit, although lower positive net balances indicate the improvements in this area were less substantial.

A balance of 6.6 per cent of lenders said the availability of unsecured lending to households was up in the quarter, swinging into the positive after a figure of minus 4.2 per cent in the previous quarter.