LONDON (SHARECAST) - Consumers upped debt levels in September but there was another fall in lending to companies, according to latest figures.
The British Bankers Association (BBA) reported a rise of £155m in unsecured consumer credit in September.
This was only the second rise in the past 16 months and followed a net repayment of £275m in August.
Consumers put £346m on credit cards in September, the highest level since July 2011, outweighing overall repayments of £191m in personal loans and overdrafts.
The argument over whether firms are being starved of funds or just don't want the money will rumble on as lending to non-financial companies fell by £986m in September.
This was a fourth successive monthly decline and the eighth in the past nine months, although it was below the average monthly fall of £1.7bn over the previous six months.
BBA statistics director David Dooks argued continuing economic uncertainty both in the UK and in the Euro area was having a dampening effect on activity within firms and households.
"Households are reducing borrowing requirements and have no appetite to take on more/new debt," he said.
"Where they can individuals are putting money aside for household expenditure.
"Firms are holding back on borrowing for investment until trade prospects improve," he added.
Dr Howard Archer, Chief UK Economist at IHS, agreed, saying the figures showed companies were wary about borrowing and investing.
"The BBA data add to the evidence that there has been no immediate major pick up in lending to companies resulting from the Funding for Lending Scheme which was launched by the Bank of England and the Treasury at the start of August," he added.