Belfast Telegraph

BoE warns banks to put £11.4bn aside to cope with any risk from loans boom

By Holly Williams

The Bank of England has told banks they must put aside another £11.4bn over the next 18 months amid a lending crackdown, as it warned the economy faces a "wide range" of risks.

The Bank raised fears over surging levels of unsecured consumer borrowing on credit cards and car finance, which is rising by more than 10% a year and outstripping incomes.

It announced plans that will see banks build up their capital buffers by £5.7bn initially, with aims to instruct them to bolster reserves by another £5.7bn in November.

In its biannual financial stability report, the Bank also said it will tighten affordability tests for mortgage lending over worries the banking sector has become too reliant on "benign" economic conditions.

It said the financial policy committee, headed by Bank governor Mark Carney, was continuing to work on contingency planning for a "range of possible outcomes" of Brexit negotiations. These will help "mitigate the risks to financial stability as the withdrawal process unfolds", it said.

The Bank continued that measures outlined in the report aim to boost the resilience of the financial sector to the "wide range of risks it faces".

It said the biggest risk was the rapid growth of consumer lending, with car finance having rocketed by around 15% and credit card borrowing by almost 10%.

The Bank added: "Lending conditions in the mortgage market are becoming easier."

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