The British Bankers’ Association said its members gave the green light to 44,657 mortgages in January, up from 43,581 in December and the highest number since January last year, when 45,794 were granted. The BBA said low mortgage rates were also driving strong interest from existing home-owners in remortgaging. Source: Reuters
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Italy’s plans to bail out two regional banks pose a tough dilemma to European regulators, who are still considering whether Monte dei Paschi qualifies for state aid, three months after giving a preliminary green light. Source Reuters
Catalonia’s regional parliament, which is dominated by parties that want the region to break away from Spain, approved Wednesday a 2017 budget that includes funding for an independence referendum. Source The Local
Catalonia’s separatist government on Sunday again urged Spain’s central government to let it hold a legal referendum on independence like the one Scotland staged in 2014 with London’s approval. Source the Local