Mortgages approvals at 13-month high

The number of mortgage approvals in the UK hit a 13-month high last month, Bank of England figures showed today, but economists warned the market remains subdued.

Julian Knight: Finally, OFT to rein in debt management firms

Put the words "debt" and "free" into a search engine and you will come up with no fewer than 60,000 results most of which are are fee chargers. But from next year the debt management industry is going to find it a lot harder to suggest that its services are free in any respect.

How to find out what's happened to your cash

Where is your money going? How can you set up a budget? Rob Griffin asks financial advisers and debt counsellors for tips

House Doctor: 'Does having a secured loan mean we can't move house?'

Question: Does a secured loan we took out on our house mean we can't put it up for sale? We really need to move for extra space but are worried we'll have to stay put until the loan is paid off, which is in about three years' time according to our repayment schedule. Our mortgage is about £145,000 on a two-bed home and the secured loan (with a different lender) is around £12,000

Joy Eviston, Newport

No end in sight to mortgage drought

Further falls in house prices are predicted following more weak mortgage lending numbers from the Bank of England. The Bank yesterday reported that mortgage approvals for house purchases fell back to a four-month low of 45,166 in April after having edged slightly higher to 47,145 in March.

Citigroup records profit of $3bn

Citigroup, the banking giant that twice had to be bailed out by the US taxpayer, recorded a $3bn profit in the first three months of 2011, but only because it was able to release $3.3bn previously set aside to cover bad loans. The improving prospects for payback on consumer loans accounted for $2bn of that figure.

Former chief of failed Rok takes on new firm

The former chief executive of failed construction group Rok has taken on a new business, four months after the "nation's local builder" collapsed.

Lenders turn the screw on debtors

Lenders are increasingly using a little-known clause in consumer credit legislation to squeeze money out of debtors.

Money Insider: Changing banks is not like switching energy providers

I was surprised to learn that there is a lack of choice and competition in the retail banking sector, according to the latest findings of the Treasury Committee.

Brace yourself as Britain's big squeeze bites

Don't despair if tax changes and price rises are taking their toll, says Paul Bicknell, charities are on hand to help manage your problems

Melanie McDonagh: It's time to blow the cobwebs off the money box

There are times when the personal really is political, when the politics of nations seem to be replicated by what's happening in our own lives. Last week, Lord Wolfson, chairman of Next, warned his fellow British retailers that over the next few years they'll feel as if they're walking up the down escalator.

Next warns of £21bn squeeze on consumers

The chief executive of Next has warned that household budgets face a £21bn hit from soaring inflation this year, which is likely to lead to a further deterioration in consumer spending and leave retailers feeling like "walking up the down escalator".

Families 'struggling to repay debts'

Job losses and falling incomes look set to leave rising numbers of households unable to repay their debts, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service warns in a report today.

Consuming Issues: Call for curb on rip-off debt and loan firms

Dodgy debt-management firms and loan finders who prey on Britain's poorest families are the focus of the latest consumer super-complaint, lodged this week with the Office of Fair Trading by Citizens Advice. The charity says tens of thousands of borrowers who struggle to get credit at traditional lenders are being conned out of money by unscrupulous loan-finder and debt-management firms. Worse, the number will increase as the recession hits harder.

Banks write off 25% more debt

The amount of consumer debt banks wrote off soared by nearly 25% during the final quarter of 2010, figures showed today.

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