Loan balances in the UK increased to record levels in 2008, up 12% on the previous year. This move adds substantially to the support which Barclays already provides to its UK customers and clients, it says.
Barclays additional lending will be directed, subject to customer demand, commercial terms and credit criteria, to UK homeowners and homebuyers (a £5.5bn increase in lending) and businesses (a £5.5bn increase in lending). The latter includes the £1.5bn increase in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises announced on 15 December 2008.
Speaking at Barclays Annual General Meeting today, Barclays Group Chief Executive John Varley said: "At a time when customers are seeking to cope with the economic downturn, and governments and supervisors are dealing with the effects of the financial crisis, we want to do our part in getting credit to customers. Activity by households and businesses will help restore sustainable growth to the UK economy. This is a good time to lend, in circumstances where the commercial and risk terms make sense to our customers and our shareholders."