Wednesday 28 July 2021 8:03 am

Barclays UK assets hit £219bn as easing lockdown sees fewer loan costs

Barclays UK assets have hit £219bn in the past six months as lockdown measures have eased, allowing for fewer loan costs.

The bank’s UK division pulled in a total income of £3.2bn, which was up one per cent in comparison to last year but was partially offset by its operating expenses of some £2.1bn.

Shares opened higher this morning, up 3.9 per cent to 176.1p per share.

However, Barclays UK banked a profit before tax of £1.3bn in its interim results, as the bank increased its mortgage lending by £6.9bn.

Its business banking lifted 19 per cent to £684m, thanks to lending and deposit balance growth from £12.1bn of government scheme lending and the easing of Covid-19 related customer support actions.

“Barclays undertaking a further share buyback and upping its half-year dividend marks another step on the road to recovery for the UK’s major banks and financial sector, at large, from the dark days of dividend suspensions,” senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin John Moore said.

“The bank’s reduction in provisions for impairment charges, more positive outlook for its retail operation, and robust capital position will be welcomed by investors, but cost increases – whilst not significantly affecting these results – remain a threat in a low-interest rate and net interest margin environment.” 

The banking group as a whole raked in a near £5bn in profit before tax. Meanwhile, total income dived five per cent to nearly £11.3bn.

Easing pandemic restrictions has led to more customers looking to up their savings after a cash strapped lockdown.

Equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Nicholas Hyett, said: “Low-interest rates always make turning a profit on loans more challenging. But to make matters worse consumers and businesses are increasingly paying down higher interest accounts.”