SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) — South Korean banks’ household loans grew at a slower clip in March, while the growth of mortgage loans remained at a high level, central bank data showed Wednesday.
The value of outstanding bank loans to local households came to 1,009.5 trillion won (US$898.8 billion) as of end-March, up 6.5 trillion won from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The February reading compares to a 6.7 trillion-won gain in February.
The BOK said the rise in lending was mainly attributable to solid demand for home-backed lending.
Banks’ mortgage loans grew 5.7 trillion won on-month to 739 trillion won in March.
South Korea has unveiled a set of measures to cool the overheated housing market but has failed to put a lid on home prices.
Non-mortgage loans rose 800 billion won last month, accelerating from a 300 billion won increase in February.
Unsecured loans accounted for the bulk of banks’ non-mortgage lending. South Korean households rushed in recent months to borrow money to meet demand for property-related costs and subscribe to initial public offering shares.
The financial regulator is seeking to tighten regulations on unsecured loans as excessive demand for credit loans is feared to hurt households’ debt-serving capacity and banks’ financial soundness.