LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England says that lenders participating in a plan to boost credit to the economy offered fewer loans in the first quarter of the year.
The data released Monday shows that net lending by banks and building societies participating in the program dropped by 300 million pounds ($455 million) in the first three months of 2013 compared with the previous quarter.
The Bank of England says the figures may reflect a desire by lenders to reduce the scale of their balance sheets or to shed operations as a condition of receiving state aid.
The program offers cheap loans to banks that make more credit available to small- and medium-sized businesses. The hope is that companies will use the money to invest and increase economic activity.