Top money stories - 28 May - 3 June 2007

Top Tip:

As a flood of statistics come in indicating that rising interest rates and tight family finances are leading to something of a consumer slowdown make sure you have taken stock of all your borrowing and are in control of your finances. Use the Moneybasics calculators {{link}} as a quick and easy way to work out how you’re doing. Fifteen minutes now could save you pounds in the long run!

Tuesday 29th May:

Personal borrowing drops as interest rates rise

Figures from the British Bankers Association (BBA) show that higher interest rates and tighter finances are slowing the rate of borrowing in the UK. The figures reveal that unsecured personal borrowing remains weak. Credit card borrowing fell by £0.1bn (net) in the month, while borrowings on personal loans and overdrafts saw only a modest rise.

Mortgage lending continues to grow, April's gross mortgage lending of £17.3bn was 12% more than in April 2006. This largely reflects 10% annual growth in house prices and strong re-mortgaging activity.

If you’re thinking about borrowing to buy a house make sure you weigh up your options very carefully. Interest rates are on the rise and you should also remember that the price of property can go down as well as up!

Thursday 31st May:

A million debtors face court action

Figures from Registry Trust, the organisation who monitor County Court Judgments (CCJs), announced that just under 250,000 people had faced court action over the first quarter of 2007. If this rate continues then around one million people will face court action over debt problems during this year. This is the highest rate for over 10 years and is indicative of a population increasingly struggling to meet their financial commitments.

If you are struggling with debt then get free and independent advice from an organisation like the Consumer Credit Counselling Service ( www.cccs.co.uk)

Friday 1st June:

Bad debt write-off up 17%

The amount of bad debt banks in the UK have written off has increased 17% in the last year despite predictions the situation was likely to improve. It said bad debt write-offs rose to £2.1bn in the first quarter of the year, up from £1.8bn in the same period last year. Most were in unsecured debt, such as overdrafts, credit cards and personal loans, with credit card write-offs up by 44pc on the year.

Mortgage approvals fall to 12 month low

Mortgage approvals, traditionally an indicator of the buoyancy of the housing market, have fallen to a 12 month low according to the Bank of England. New unsecured lending has also fallen to the lowest levels in over 10 years.

This comes at the end of the week when a slew of statistics have painted a picture of the shine starting to come off the economy. It is important you bear this in mind when thinking through your finances and make sure you’re prepared, whatever happens in the coming months.