Shares in some of Britain’s biggest banks fell yesterday as HBOS, the country’s biggest lender, revealed a sharp increase in the number of borrowers in arrears on their debt repayments.
The first signs that some consumers are struggling to keep up with repayments in particular hit banks that have a high proportion of unsecured lending such as Barclays and Lloyds TSB. At HBOS, the value of unsecured loans where borrowers are three months or more in arrears rose by more than 20 per cent from £1.4 billion to £1.7 billion last year.
Arrears among mortgage borrowers in the buy-to-let market, or who self-certify their incomes, were also substantially higher than last year. The HBOS figures showed that nearly 6,000 mortgage customers with total loans of £952 million were three months or more in arrears, more than double last year’s figure.
(The Times Thursday 3rd March 2005)