UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Satisfied bank customer?

- Unicorn

We’re wondering who is.

We see bailed-out banks returning to profit at the same time as headlines about others still refusing to lend. The personal finance pages are bristling with stories about mortgage famine . Big businesses may have been overcharged for banks’ services in raising new equity capital;  lending to smaller businesses is down, and the interest offered on savings is so derisory, would-be savers are being pushed into taking more risk to try to preserve their capital.

What are we missing? What is the magic ingredient that makes you as a customer happy with your bank? Or are we right in thinking “customer satisfaction” is a figment of executive imagination? Tell us your stories.

from MacroScope:

“Normal” bank lending is no longer realistic

MacroScope is pleased to post the following from guest blogger James Carrick.  Carrick is economist at UK fund firm Legal & General Investment Management. He says here old patterns of lending are unlikely to return and that this means slow growth in developed countries.

"Despite £175 billion of quantitative easing, bank lending in the UK remains weak, threatening to restrain the economic recovery and equity market rally. 

from MacroScope:

Show us the money

It says something about the current world that a new economic indicator is about to be unleashed by the Bank of England and it basically tells you whether banks have been doing what they are supposed to do -- lend.

The first Trends in Lending report is due out on April 21 at 0830 GMT. Always nice to have a new indicator, but this one may get a bit more attention than would have been the case a few years ago. It is designed to provide up-to-date information about bank lending to households and businesses.

Rate cut round-up: “policy mistake” or “confidence boost”?

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The Bank of England’s decision to cut interest rates to a record low of 1.0 percent may have been widely predicted, but this did little to hold back the avalanche of commentary that began the moment the news came through at noon today.

Interest rates, which have now been cut five months in a row, are at the lowest level in the Bank’s 315-year history, and the list of people calling yet another easing pointless appeared to be getting longer.

R-word looms as retail sales slump

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Exactly one year since the credit crunch started retail sales have shown their biggest fall on record in Britain, news that is likely to spur recession talk among consumers, who are already feeling the pinch from rising fuel and food costs.

For sure, the 3.9 percent drop in June was much worse than expected – economists had forecast a 2.5 percent decline – but shop prices are still higher than a year ago and the retail sales data series is notoriously volatile.retail-salessmaller.jpg

Housing market meltdown?

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housing.jpgThey’re still up there in the list of conversation topics at dinner parties, but house prices nowadays are more likely to have the guests huddling together for warmth than bragging about the value of their properties.

As the lending windows slam shut and the market contracts, prices according to the biggest lender, Halifax, are falling at their steepest rate since the recession of the early 1990s.

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