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(LEAD) Banks' household loans grow at slower pace in November amid tight lending rules

Economy 13:17 December 08, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 4. 6-7, 11)

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean banks' loans to households grew at a slower pace in November amid the government's stepped-up control on home-backed loans and other lending, central bank data showed Wednesday.

According to the data from the Bank of Korea, banks' household loans stood at 1,060.9 trillion won (US$901.2 billion) as of end-November, up 3 trillion won from a month earlier.

The on-month growth decelerated from 5.2 trillion won growth in October.

Of household loans, mortgage loans grew 2.4 trillion won on-month in November to 776.9 trillion won, which marked the slowest growth in about four years. The rise also slowed from a 4.7 trillion won increase a month earlier, the data showed.

Other types of loans, including unsecured credit-based loans grew 500 billion won on-month to 282.9 trillion won. The increase was the same as a rise recorded a month earlier.

The total amount of loans extended by financial firms, including banks and non-banking firms, also grew at a slower pace in November from a month earlier.

According to data provided by the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service, financial institutions' total household loans expanded 5.9 trillion won on-month in November. This compared with a 6.1 trillion won increase in October.

South Korea has been tightening its control on household debt growth amid worries that soaring household borrowing could weigh on economic recovery.

The central bank's move to raise its key policy rate and the consequent increasing borrowing costs at banks have also weighed on those seeking to take out loans.

In November, the BOK raised its policy rate by a quarter percentage point to 1 percent, ending 20 months of the zero range rate put in place to prop up the pandemic-hit economy. It marked the second rate hike since a 0.25 percentage point rise in August.

A BOK official said that it is true that household loan growth slowed in November due to a mix of factors, such as tighter control on lending, seasonal reasons and rising borrowing costs, but noted that more time is needed to determine whether the overall upward trend has come to an end.

Meanwhile, banks' loans to businesses also grew at a slower pace in November but growth trends still remained strong due to high demand for funds from small companies to tide over the fallout from the pandemic.

The data showed that banks' outstanding business loans stood at 1,068.4 trillion won at the end of November, up 9.1 trillion won from a month earlier. The on-month growth was slightly smaller than a rise of 10.3 trillion won in October.

This photo, taken Oct. 3, 2021, shows signs about a bank's loan programs that were put up on the exterior of a lender in Seoul. South Korea's financial regulator is reviewing further tightening rules on household loans in a bid to curb the fast growth of household debt. (Yonhap)


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