West One: Alternative finance can sustain the recovery

He was speaking in the wake of the Bank of England’s Money and Credit report for September, which revealed that mortgage approvals for house purchases fell to 61,267 last month, the lowest figure recorded since July 2013.

Net mortgage lending increased by £1.8bn in September compared to an average monthly increase of £2.2bn over the previous six months.

Wasserman said: “Alternative finance has made great strides through even the worst of the Great Recession, and with a break in the economic weather is far better placed for the marathon ahead than an old and battered high street.

“In the property market, builders and developers are still being shunned by the high street.

“To put a roof over the heads of more families, mortgage approvals need to grow steadily – yet in September approvals were down.”

He added: “Opportunities are out there, businesses are hiring, and economic growth is gaining ground.

“But our old and fractious financial system is still creaking along, and failing to keep up. Hope alone won’t be enough to secure prosperity.

“The economic priority is lending, lending, lending – small firms need finance if they are to support a sustainable recovery.”

But Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, played down any fears of a slowing mortgage market.

He said: “Lenders still have a hearty appetite for business, and fierce competition continues to result in preferential product rates.

“A host of high street lenders recently slashed their rates, and with more than 12,000 mortgage products currently available, consumers remain in a good position to borrow at affordable prices.

“Interest rates now look unlikely to rise in the immediate future, giving consumers an extra window of low mortgage costs.”