Building Societies bonanza

Net advances were at £682 million in March, up from £568 million in February, and approvals for loans agreed but not yet made, increased to £3.4 billion from £208 billion in February.

Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, said: "The most encouraging aspect of this set of data is the sharp increase in building society approvals in March – up 15 per cent on a year earlier. At over £3.4 billion approvals were the highest for five years – since the restructuring of the sector in 1997, when a number of large societies converted to plc status."