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Analysts expect lending rate rise

The decision by the Bank of England to keep base rates level at 6% for the past two months has meant no fundamental change in lending rates available in the High Street and from the direct lenders.

But there are some clouds on the horizon. No-one expects interest rates to stay low for long and the spending plans in the March Budget will add to inflationary pressure. Analysts are expecting a rise of about one percentage point by the end of the year.

Lombard Direct has already acknowledged this by introducing an extra tier in its loan rate structure. A month ago you could get a £2,000 loan for 12.9%; now it is 15.9%. Tesco has also raised its rates fractionally.

At the same time the company has cut its payment protection premiums. A £5,000 loan with PPP is down from £188.36 a month to £181.18. That will save a borrower more than £250 over a three-year term and emphasises the need for dealers to be sure they can match competitive action with their own strategy.

Speed of acceptance and instant documentation remain key weapons for dealers.

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