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Consumers choose to save and lower debts

Consumers choose to save and lower debts

Category: Debt

Updated: 25/05/2011
First Published: 25/05/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Consumers are choosing to save more and pay off their debts as concerns about the economy continue to play on their minds.

Borrowing on credit cards and through loans and overdrafts remained weak in April, according to the latest British Bankers' Association (BBA) data.

Even though more people hit the shops last month and retail sales strengthened, the major high street banks said cash rather than credit is being used for spending.

With worries over how the Government's spending review will eventually impact household finances, the amount of unsecured credit approved by the banks has contracted by 1.2% over the past year.

At the same time, however, personal deposits have increased by 3.8%, with people seemingly keen to make sure they have some money to fall back on in case times get tough.

The banks said the amount of savings in ISAs had increased by £9.1 billion in the year to April, compared with £6.6 billion in 2010.

"Individuals and businesses continue to save more, pay off debt and borrow less as uncertainty about the economy has entrenched a 'wait and see' attitude," said BBA statistics director, David Dooks.

Elsewhere in the BBA's figures, it was revealed that the number of mortgages approved by the banks for people buying a home fell slightly compared with March and was 18% down on a year earlier.

The amount of remortgage deals approved also fell, both on the previous month and on a year earlier, as fears that interest rates were about to rise receded.

Jonathan Moore, director of, said the drop in house purchase lending in April represents another blow for first-time buyers.

"House prices remain unaffordably high, and the cost of living is soaring," he added.

"With lenders requiring would-be borrowers to save up deposits in excess of £25,000 at a time when rents are at a record high, it's no surprise that tens of thousands of first-timers are struggling to get onto the property ladder."

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