The financial services sector has recorded a third straight quarter of growth, bringing it almost back to pre-financial crisis levels.
According to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey, 33% of firms say business levels rose in the three months to March, with only 11% saying they fell.
With the balance now at +22%, the sector is amost back to the +27/28% range seen before September 2007.
Among private individuals, volumes rose at the fastest pace since December 1996, although volumes fell unexpectedly among finance houses.
Meanwhile, profits were boosted within the investment management sector, despite further increases in costs.
Ian McCafferty, CBI chief economic adviser, says: "A third quarter of strong volume growth shows the financial services recovery is building strength.
"It is particularly good news that firms consider their level of business to be only slightly below normal, for the first time since the financial crisis began in 2007.
"While business with private individuals has again shown the fastest growth, business with companies also shows some signs of improvement. Firms' profitability has improved due to higher incomes and another big drop in the value of non-performing loans."
Of the 94 respondents, a positive balance of 30% believe growth will pick up in the current quarter, while firms are also planning to invest more over the next 12 months across land and buildings and information technology.
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