Understanding the price of new lending to households

Quarterly Bulletin 2010 Q3
Published on 20 September 2010

By Richard Button of the Bank’s Financial Institutions Division and Silvia Pezzini and Neil Rossiter of the Bank’s Monetary Assessment and Strategy Division.

During the recent financial crisis Bank Rate was reduced sharply, but in general the interest rates charged on new lending to households did not fall by as much and indeed some interest rates rose. This article assesses the factors that have influenced new lending rates using a simple decomposition of new lending rates into lenders’ funding costs, credit risk charges and a residual (which includes both operating costs and the mark-up). Applying the decomposition to two indicative lending products suggests that funding costs have been an important driver of new lending rates and the residual has also risen. The residual needs to be interpreted with caution — by definition it reflects all the remaining unmodelled factors. But among other things, a larger residual is consistent with lenders increasing mark-ups over marginal costs for new lending, which may reflect a need to build higher capital levels within the banking sector.

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