Where do I start this week!? So much negative news surrounding the world of financial services. As I write this column, the Breaking News is that Bob Diamond has resigned as Chief Executive of Barclays, following his Chairmans departure some hours earlier. Both following Libor (London Inter Bank Offered Rate) and Euribor, the interest rates at which banks lend to each other, fixing and interest rate swap miss-selling scandals. Also, in relation to last week’s fine of £290m by the FSA and US authorities after it admitted that their traders manipulated Libor. This now leaves a rather large ship with no captains to steer them. No doubt the board will act quickly and more light will have been shed on the matter by the time this is printed. However, the bottom line is that, allegedly, a number of other banks are also under investigation and thus, this could be just the first of many, and in addition, it‘s a further act of mistrust and will bring an increased lack of confidence to an already fragile market.
And finally…the Bank of England’s latest figures suggest that gross lending secured on dwellings hit £12.2bn in May up from £11.6bn in April. Repayments also rose from £11.4bn in April to £11.7bn in May. House purchases fell to 51,098 in May from the 51,627 figure recorded in April and remortgage approvals also dipped from 30,799 in April to 29,244 in May. All signs of a reduced availability of mortgage credit and with the Eurozone crisis still in the mix, and a serious dent in consumer confidence, we might not see these figures change dramatically any time soon.