Gross lending by the five banks — Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Santander — last year was £74.9bn, against a target of £76bn, while overall lending, at £214.9bn, exceeded the £190bn target.
Christie Finance’s head of mortgages David Grant said: “I’m not hugely surprised and remain of the opinion that most new lending is actually recycled existing debt — so where a five-year loan, for example, has come to an end, they just provide a continuation of that.”
“Despite the daily changes in lending criteria, we have seen a lot of first-time sitting tenants, who have the chance to buy from their landlord, successfully secure loans. Existing pub owners have also been successful. They are coming to us as they are frustrated with their bank.”
The firm secured an extra £4.6m worth of pub loans last year, compared with 2010 — it saw £21.5m being loaned in 2011, up from £16.9m in the previous year. However the average loan value fell 10% year-on-year to £256,000.
Tom Thompson, partner at Acorn Finance, added: “I’m not surprised, because they are lending such small percentages to the trade, although I can’t speak for other trades.
“Pubs are not the flavour of the month and high street banks are just not interested. They make it difficult for licensees to borrow money so thank God we have other lenders coming into the market who are lending to pubs. But the cases must be presented properly.”
The Forum for Private Business said it still receives a number of complaints about problems accessing high-street finance.
However, chief executive Phil Orford added that fewer people are looking for credit to expand in the current economic conditions.