Top stories

  1. Remortgaging sees strongest July in a decade
  2. Intelligence chief urges UK business leaders to upgrade cyber security
  3. EU and UK plan special summit to sign Brexit deal

Stat of the day

8.7 billion – The value of remortgaging in July 2018, up 26.1 per cent on the same month the previous year, according to UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends Update.

Remortgaging sees strongest July in a decade

There were 46,900 new homeowner remortgages completed in July 2018, up 23.1 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier, UK Finance’s latest Mortgage Trends Update has revealed. There were also 14,700 new buy-to-let remortgages completed in July, some 7.3 per cent more than in July 2017.

Commenting on the data, Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages at UK Finance said:

“The residential remortgaging market saw its strongest July in over a decade, as homeowners pre-empted the latest Bank of England rate rise by locking into attractive fixed-rate deals. There was also considerable growth in remortgaging in the buy-to-let sector, showing that while recent tax and regulatory changes are impacting on new purchases, many existing landlords remain in the market.

“The number of first-time buyers has returned to modest year-on-year growth. However, affordability remains a challenge for many prospective borrowers, underlining the importance of clarity over the future of schemes such as Help to Buy.”

Intelligence chief urges UK business leaders to upgrade cyber security

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, has urged UK business leaders to upgrade their cyber security defences in an interview with the Financial Times (online only, £). Martin warns that international cyber criminals present just as great a threat as the Russian state, as they have the potential to do huge damage through the large-scale theft of money and personal data. It comes as security researchers at the company Risk IQ suggested the recent British Airways data breach may have been conducted by the same criminal group responsible for a similar attack on Ticketmaster (The Times, p9, £).

Mark Carney, who yesterday was confirmed to stay on as Bank of England Governor until January 2020, also noted the threat of a cyber-attack as one of the four major risks facing the UK financial services sector (BBC News, online only). Meanwhile former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has called for a new national digital ID scheme to help improve access to public services and tackle fraud (The Times, p14, £).

EU and UK plan special summit to sign Brexit deal

A special summit of European leaders could take place in mid-November to conclude negotiations over the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement, according to Bloomberg News (online only). The Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday told MPs that he would be postponing naming a date for the Autumn Budget because of the chance of this EU summit taking place, adding that he believed there was a chance that a Brexit deal could be struck in the next six to eight weeks (The Times, p9, £). It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May faces mounting pressure from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs over the government’s Chequers plan, with reports that 50 members of the European Research Group met last night to discuss a potential leadership challenge (BBC News, online only).

Latest from UK Finance

Our ‘10 years of change’ blog series kicks off today with Simon Hills, our Director of Prudential Policy, exploring a more resilient banking system.

In support of his presentation at our Digital Innovation Summit next week, Siamac Rezaiezadeh, GoCardless, blogged his take on the seven dimensions of recurring payments. Book your tickets for the event here.

News in Brief

London has fallen behind New York as the world’s number one financial centre while Asian cities are rising up the global ranking, according to a report by think tank and consultancy Z/Yen (CityAM, p1).

LINK is to offer operators higher fees to open ATMs in certain rural areas, as figures show a record number of free-to-use cash machines are closing (Financial Times, online only, £).

Complaints about banks and credit companies rose by 44 per cent in the first half of 2018, driven by a rise in cases about PPI and payday loans, according to the latest figures from the Financial Ombudsman (The Times, p44, £).

The government is launching a Help to Save scheme, available to working people on tax credits and universal credit, which will reward savers with an extra 50p for every £1 saved (The Guardian, online only).

The gap between bankers’ bonuses in the UK and US is widening due to the introduction of EU rules on bonus caps, according to a study by law firm Linklaters (Bloomberg, online only).

Lenders are using new high-tech credit referencing agencies that check customers’ social media profiles to very their identity and creditworthiness, according to the Daily Mail (supplement, p4). UK Finance responded: ‘Firms use a range of techniques to establish customers’ identity and are continually looking at new ways to make this more straightforward, within the very strict privacy laws regarding the use of personal data”.

What the commentators say

Adair Turner, former Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, writes in the Financial Times (p11, £) that the global economy is still burdened by excessive debt. He remarks that growth since the 2008 crash has been anaemic, with the recent uptick driven by growing fiscal deficits in both the US and China, leaving the global economy dangerously exposed. Turner points to rising inequality and the increasing role of real estate in modern economies as possible causes for the dangerous dependence on debt for economic growth. He concludes that the priority should be to understand and plan for our current challenges, and not ‘plan for the last war.’

Sushil Saluja, senior managing director at Accenture, writes in the Daily Telegraph (B2, £) about the challenge posed by digital technology to the banking sector. He argues that traditionally major banks have had the time and resources to adapt to new technology, but that the pace of change is so fast that they now only have a “small window” to act. Saluja concludes that while Brexit is currently a major cause of uncertainty, the long-term future of the UK’s financial services industry will “ultimately be decided by how well it innovates”.

Calendar

  • UK Finance releases its monthly Mortgage Trends Update for July 2018
  • Final Prime Minister’s Questions until 9th of October
  • Jean-Claude Juncker delivers EU State of the Union address
  • Treasury Committee oral evidence session on the appointments of Jill May and Julia Black as external members of the Prudential Regulation Committee
  • Financial Ombudsman Service publishes complaint data on individual financial businesses for the first half of 2018.

For a full list of upcoming UK Finance statistics releases, please click here.

News in Brief – 12 September 2018