SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korean banks' mortgage loan kept growing last month amid the record-low interest rate, joint data from the central bank and the financial regulator showed Friday.
Home-backed loans, owed by households to banks, increased 5.6 trillion won (4.8 billion U.S. dollars) in December, marking the biggest growth in 40 months since August 2016, according to joint data from the Bank of Korea (BOK), the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
It came as the BOK cut its benchmark interest rate from 1.75 percent to 1.50 percent in July, before slashing it to a record low of 1.25 percent in October.
The government unveiled a new set of measures in December to curb speculative investment in the property market, but it had yet to take effect.
Including mortgage and credit loan, banks' loan to households expanded 7.2 trillion won (6.2 billion U.S. dollars) in December, marking the biggest December increase since 2004.
For the entire year of 2019, banks' mortgage loan grew 45.6 trillion won (39.3 billion U.S. dollars). The home-backed loan rose 37.2 trillion won (32 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017 and 37.8 trillion won (32.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018 each.
Banks' combined loan to households expanded 60.7 trillion won (52.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, after rising 60.8 trillion won in the previous year.