The Bank of England has spoken out on how Britain’s exit from the EU will affect consumers from January 1 – warning it could lead to “some market volatility.”
However it said banks are equipped to deal with shocks much worse than Covid-19 and will continue to lend.
The country’s biggest banks have enough capital buffers to get them through the crisis, after building them up since the 2008 financial crisis, the committee said.
It said lenders would be allowed to reduce their so-called countercyclical capital buffer – a type of rainy day fund – to 0% for at least another year.
This will give lenders confidence that they can reduce the buffer without then being required to jack it up when officials say so.
But ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit, it warned “some disruption to financial services could arise.”
It comes as Brexit talks are set to come to a crunch this weekend, with a no-deal still on the table.
“Some market volatility and disruption to financial services, particularly to EU-based clients, could arise,” it said.
The December report would normally include an annual stress test, however this was cancelled in March to support businesses through the pandemic.
In autumn, the Bank wrote to lenders asking them how they would react to negative interest rates.
It comes as rates remain at an all time low of 0.1% with the move prompting concerns banks could turn to negative interest – as has been done in the EU – next year.
The Covid-19 pandemic pushed the economy to its worst quarter since records began in 1955 in September, shrinking GDP by more than 20%.
So far banks have been keeping money flowing to millions of British businesses.
Despite some complaints from business owners, the lenders have pumped more than £65 billion into the economy as part of three Government-backed loan schemes.
Unlike 2008, the banks have not seemed to show any major strain from the exercise. The risk they are taking is smaller than for usual loans, as the Government has promised to cover the bank between 80% and 100% of the loan amount if the borrower is unable to pay.
In October governor Andrew Bailey told lenders that their “capital buffers are there to be used,” amid fears that bank bosses might be holding on to the cushions.