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NI lending figures released for first time

Figures on how much Northern Ireland banks are lending to businesses and households have been published for the first time.

The data was released by the British Bankers Association (BBA) and covers the lending activity of major British banks in Northern Ireland during Q3 and Q4 2013.

BBA figures reveal that total outstanding loans at the end of 2013 were just over £24 billion, while total deposits were recorded at £18 billion.

Key business figures (end of 2013):

  • Northern Irish businesses had borrowings of £16.5 billion - £14.5 billion in loans and £2 billion in overdrafts
  • 35% of total business borrowing (£8.5 billion) came from the service sector and 15% from the construction industry (£3.5 billion)
  • Northern Irish businesses held £8 billion on deposit.

Key household figures (end of 2013):

  • Northern Irish households had borrowings of £7.3 billion 
  • £6.5 billion of total borrowing was on mortgages 
  • total household deposits were £10 billion.

Anthony Brown, chief executive of the BBA, described the release as a "very important moment":

"Overall, the levels of consumer and business borrowing are reflective of the wider economic and financial trends in Northern Ireland post the global financial crisis.

"These figures show us that lending approvals to small and medium-sized business in Northern Ireland is growing strongly. That's very heartening - and will only give more encouragement to those entrepreneurs we all need to power economic growth."

Nigel Smyth, director of the Confederation of British Industry Northern Ireland, said:

"It is encouraging that quarter on quarter new lending to SME's grew by £6m to £362m while the year-on-year figures in Q4 reflected a 46% rise in overall lending.

"This reflects the picture of an improving economy in which the demand for lending, both conventional in this case via banks and through other mechanisms such as venture capital, is increasing. Ensuring an adequate flow of credit is critical to underpinning the economic recovery which is underway."