The attitude of banking groups effectively fostered a debt-reliant culture in the UK in recent years, it ahs been claimed.
According to Deborah Hargreaves, an economic expert with the Guardian, a decade of loose lending practices left millions of people with a heavy reliance on borrowing that is coming back to haunt them.
Ms Hargreaves maintains that banks are now squeezing their customers and for millions the effect of the recent financial market turmoil is "about to get very personal".
Highlighting the extent of the problem, she noted that the scale of borrowing among British consumers last year amounted to more than the national gross domestic product.
"The banks’ easy lending practices fostered a debt-dependent culture," wrote Ms Hargraves.
"Consumers racked up a cumulative £1.4 trillion in debt last year – equal to the output from the British economy."
A report from Abbey recently suggested that an increasing number of British homeowners are looking to secure a fixed-rate mortgage deal amid fears for the future of the economy.