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Savings drop as consumers repay debts

Savings drop as consumers repay debts

Category: Savings

Updated: 30/11/2009
First Published: 30/11/2009

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 It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Savings levels have dropped for the eighth month in a row as low interest rates continue to see consumers shy away from saving and repay their debts instead.

The latest figures from the Building Societies Association (BSA) revealed savings balances held by its members decreased by £929 million in October, having increased by £545 million in the same month in 2008.

Excluding any interest added to the accounts, £1,240 million was withdrawn over the month, as opposed to net receipts of £115 million a year earlier.

Net receipts for cash ISAs also fell, amounting to just £233 million, compared with £1,168 million last year.

Meanwhile, new figures from the Bank of England showed consumers are continuing to pay off their loans rather than borrowing anything more.

For the fourth month in a row, repayments of unsecured borrowing exceeded the amount that was taken out.

In addition, the drop in non-mortgage borrowing seen between September and October was the largest month on month fall reported since records began more than 16 years ago.

"The base rate has been at its record low of 0.5% since March and it appears savers are not able to find rates of interest that appeal to them," said Michelle Slade, spokesperson at

"Hopefully people are using the money they might otherwise have saved to pay off their debts instead. The financial benefit to them of repaying their debts is likely to be much higher than if their money was languishing in a savings account paying little interest."

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