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U.K. Banks Provided 214.9 Billion Pounds of Loans, BBA Says

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Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s five-biggest consumer banks met their commitments to government to boost lending to businesses in 2011, the British Bankers’ Association said.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Santander U.K., provided 214.9 billion pounds ($339 billion) in gross new lending, fulfiling the so-called Merlin agreement with the government, the lobby group said in a statement today. The figure includes 74.9 billion pounds of loans to small and medium-sized companies, the BBA said.

The five lenders promised the government last year to provide gross new credit of 190 billion pounds to businesses, including 76 billion pounds to small firms with revenue of less than 25 million pounds.

Politicians have criticized banks for failing to boost credit after accepting about 1 trillion pounds in bailouts and guarantees following the 2008 financial crisis. Banks say the lending slowdown is largely the result of a drop in demand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Menon in London at jmenon1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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