Banking deposits up for first time in six months
Warning that 'we are still a long way from where we need to be'
THE flight of deposits from Irish banks reversed in April this year, the first time since last October.
Deposits in the six state-guaranteed financial institutions were up nearly €2bn to €108bn, the first month-on-month increase in six months, the new figures from the Central Bank showed.
Economists said the rise in the level of deposits in AIB, Bank of Ireland, Anglo Irish, EBS, Permanent TSB and Irish Nationwide was the first since the stress tests and bank restructuring announced in March this year.
However, deposits in the state-guaranteed banks are down €21bn from a year ago, and €9bn lower than they were when the IMF/EU bailout was announced last November.
When all banks in the market are looked at, whether they are Irish or foreign-owned, the rate of decline in deposits slowed to 9pc in April compared with the same month a year ago.
But compared with February this year, there was a rise of €2.3bn in Irish resident private sector deposits in April.
This was driven almost entirely by financial firms transferring deposits internally and an increase in deposits by households.
The central bank said Irish banks had loans of €77.8bn from the European Central Bank at the end of April, a fall of just under €5bn on the previous month.
Overall, banks based in Ireland had €106bn of outstanding loans with the ECB at the end of April.
The central bank also said the annual rate of decline in loans to households slowed to 4.6pc in April from a reduction of 5pc in March, with a drop in lending for consumption accounting for the bulk of the reduction.
Lending for mortgages fell 2pc in April, compared with the same month last year.
Economist with Bloxham Stockbrokers Alan McQuaid said: "These latest figures are a slight improvement on recent months, and the Government will be encouraged by the stabilisation of deposits.
"Still, we remain a long way from where we want/need to be to get the economy moving again."
The Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA) said the figures on deposits and mortgage lending "reaffirm the perseverance of an abnormal banking system".
Rachel Doyle of PIBA said: "Mortgage and other lending is continuing a downward spiral.
"The fact that the level of decline has abated slightly gives no real cause for optimism, since the levels are declining from already dramatically reduced levels of lending in the previous year."
Meanwhile, consumers have dramatically cut spending on credit cards and upped their repayments, the figures from the Central Bank showed.
Consumers paid off almost €1bn in March on their credit cards, but they still owed €2.8bn on them.