Belfast Telegraph

CBI praise as group releases loans info

By Lesley Houston

Data on business and household loans offered by Northern Ireland's banks has been released by the British Bankers' Association for the first time.

The loans were provided by lenders including Ulster Bank, Danske, Bank of Ireland, First Trust, Santander, Barclays and HSBC.

The details on loans in 2013 showed that Northern Ireland's businesses had borrowings worth £16.5bn. Some £2bn of that was in overdrafts, with the remainder being in loans.

Business deposits were £8bn.

Household ratepayers, meanwhile, borrowed £7.3bn, the vast majority of which – £6.5bn– was in mortgage loans.

The figures show that in both the third and fourth quarters of 2013 net borrowing by households and businesses fell.

CBI NI director Nigel Smyth said the business community had been demanding transparency on bank lending for some time.

"We needed a mechanism by which we could properly assess the contribution being made to local businesses."

The Federation of Small Businesses also welcomed the data

Policy chair Wilfred Mitchell said: "Access to this information is fundamental in providing a better understanding of lending activity and emphasising the markets and geographical areas that need particular economic focus, as well as setting the framework for a better informed discussion around banking structures."

Belfast Telegraph