The British Bankers’ Association says it’s too early to say how yesterday’s announcement from the G20 leaders that forces banks and building societies to hold more capital in a bid to stave off another credit crisis will affect mortgage lending.
Brian Mairs, spokesman at the British Bankers Association (BBA), said it was too early to say how the announcement would affect UK mortgage lending.
He told Mortgage Introducer: “We have to remember that the G20 summit is a meeting of very different economies all trying to reach a common agreement for a range of economies with different rates of recovery.
“Leaders have to balance the need to stabilise banking systems with economic recovery, and they know they can’t hamper the banks because they are the main engine of recovery for most economies.
“In the UK, since the start of the credit crunch, banks have already had to double the capital they hold, and British banks also hold a greater proportion of capital than many other countries at the G20 meeting.
“We will need to wait to see the details of this decision before assuming any impact on UK mortgage lending.”
The G20 communiqué stated: “The amount of capital will be significantly higher and the quality of capital will be significantly improved when the reforms are fully implemented.”
Paul Broadhead, director of mortgage policy at the Building Societies Association, said the announcement was not a surprise, adding: “It could undoubtedly restrict lending in the UK but following the implications set out in Basel regulation, we have been expecting greater capital ratios and the necessity of quality capital.
“We would say that the process has to be carefully managed. There is only a finite amount of capital in the market and if lenders have to hoard it, it will impact on the amount available for new lending.
“Together with the repayment dates looming for the Credit Guarantee Scheme and the Special Liquidity Scheme we have to face we’ll see some constriction of the mortgage market.”
The G20 statement also said that “existing public sector capital injections will be grandfathered for the extent of the transition” which is set to be by the end of 2012.
Broadhead said the BSA would like further clarity that this would not mean the continuation of an “uneven playing field” for state-owned banks and building societies.
He added: “Building societies have been struggling with competition because the cost of funding for state-owned banks has allowed them to compete aggressively on pricing. We would be concerned if that was to continue.”