The pain felt in SA’s economy in the first quarter was echoed in the banking industry. The value of new consumer credit granted in the first quarter fell more than 10% to R121.6bn from the previous three months, according to data compiled by the National Credit Regulator (NCR). The number of applications for loans remained little changed at 10.48-million, it said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. SA’s economy shrank the most in nine years in the first quarter, contracting by 2.2% compared with the prior three months, as output slumped at mines, factories and farms. Unemployment remained near a record high during the quarter at 26.7%. Even so, the number of impaired accounts declined to 19.4-million from 19.8-million at the end of December out of the 79.1-million that are active, the regulator said. Other quarter-on-quarter highlights from the NCR include the following: Total outstanding consumer credit balances increased 1.3% from the previous quarter to take the gross debtors’ bo...

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