Lenders expect to ease the supply of new mortgages in the coming quarter, according to the Bank of England’s latest study of bank intentions.
There was little evidence in the survey of a wider or deeper credit crunch, but the study came too late to give a full verdict on sentiment in the wake of recent banking turmoil.
Overall, the report for the first quarter showed credit availability to households and businesses had changed little from the previous quarter.
Lenders expected to cut credit to households modestly in the second quarter, with caution centred on the mortgage market. The supply of mortgages in the first quarter was at its most plentiful for a year. “Despite all the monetary tightening and the turmoil of March, there is not too much evidence of banks pulling back,” Liz Martins, an economist at HSBC, said.
The survey ran from February 27 to March 17, so some responses predated the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, which occurred on March 10, and the worst of the Credit Suisse panic that led to its rescue and sale to UBS.
Lenders signalled that loan spreads — the additional interest that banks charge to borrowers over and above the market rate — – were likely to narrow in the second quarter.
Andrew Wishart, at Capital Economics, said: “Banks expected their risk appetite to decline in the second quarter at the expense of market share, which could reflect caution in reaction to banking sector issues overseas.”