Monday 31 March 2014 12:21 am

EU lenders cut back to boost performance in stress tests

BANK lending will not rise as fast as hoped this year as cautious European institutions cut back in risky lending, EY forecast today. The Eurozone lenders, facing an asset quality review (AQR) and stress test, are being careful with their lending to make sure their balance sheets appear in good shape. EY expects lending will grow by just 0.5 per cent this year, down from the 1.4 per cent previously predicted. The analysts fear the slowdown could hit the economic recovery in the Eurozone. “Given how dependent consumer spending and SME financing are on bank lending in the Eurozone, the AQR could have a material economic impact,” said EY’s Andy Baldwin. “The hope is it clears the decks for banks to support more sustained growth, but, if there is a large capital shortfall, the AQR could deliver a material knock, enough to prolong low growth or stagnation.”