Activity in the U.K. financial industry is back to pre-crisis levels according to a quarterly survey performed by the Confederation of British Industry and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Profitability increased for the fifth quarter in a row and activity is the highest since June 2007.
Asked how their business volumes fared in the three months to September, 37% said that volumes rose and 9% said they fell. The resulting balance of +28% is the most positive since June 2007 (+51%), although it fell short of expectations (+63%). A similar pace of growth is expected next quarter, by a balance of +24% of firms.
Business volumes rose across all sub-sectors of financial services in the past three months, apart from general insurance, which saw a modest fall in activity. Banks’ volumes increased after two quarters of decline, but at a slower pace, as expected, and building societies saw the fastest rise in volumes since March 2008, helping to achieve a near unanimous rise in profitability.
Overall, business grew across all customer groups, apart from business with financial institutions, where there was a modest decline. The strongest growth was seen in business with overseas customers, with the highest balance of firms since September 1999 describing this level of business as above normal.
The U.K.’s position as a financial hub, and the foreign business it generates, is leading the way. In other news, U.K. housing prices fell the most in 18 months during September.