Some of Britain’s largest lenders have today released data on lending to individuals and small businesses across the UK. This data can be interrogated to the postcode area level and the data will be updated quarterly. This is the first time that any lenders in Europe have made data like this public, and reflects a growing trend for organisations to realise the value of what were previously considered internal datasets.
The data, from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and British Bankers Association, covers about 60% of all lending to UK SMEs, about 60% of personal loans and almost 75% of mortgages. It can be interrogated to postcode sector, each of which contains about 200 homes or offices and thus provides a very granular dataset on lending patterns across the UK.
The immediate impact of this kind of data will, of course, be for data journalists to analyse and draw out stories. One of the main findings from the initial release of data appears to be that 25% of all mortgage lending in the UK is to houses in London.
But as with many of the datasets that are now being made available, they become more useful when combined with others:
- SME lending data can be combined with business performance data to understand the growth profile of businesses by area; combining it with business confidence survey data would allow us to explore the correlation between actual lending, performance and confidence in growth in the future
- Combining personal loan data with consumer spending data by region, and salary survey data would allow us to understand the balance of earning, borrowing and spend for consumers to quite a granular level
- Combining mortgage lending and house sales data would allow us to better understand the consumer real estate market by region
But as with other big data sets, the real value will come when people start to use the data and explore how it could combine with other public and private datasets to provide new answers to questions.