Pressure rises on banks as they agree to publish local loan data

Tim Wallace
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BRITAIN’S biggest banks will face even more public pressure and scrutiny as they publish detailed lending figures every quarter starting next year, the Treasury will announce today.

The seven largest lenders will make public their business, mortgage and unsecured consumer lending figures, listed by postcode.

It is part of a long drive to put pressure on banks to lend more.

Lending fell in the financial crisis as banks repaired their balance sheets and cut risky lending. But politicians now want lending to rise again, in a bid to boost growth.

“From next year businesses will be able to see exactly where the major banks are lending – up to within a few streets of their premises,” said Treasury minister Danny Alexander.

“It should encourage competition by helping smaller lenders to identify gaps in the market and allowing businesses to hold their local bank to account where they aren’t lending.”

The quarterly figures will use the first half of the postcode, plus the following digit.

Any more detail would risk revealing individual firms’ and households’ borrowing, particularly in areas with few businesses and little housing market activity.