The rate of credit expansion to the private sector (businesses and households) slowed down to 17.2 percent, year-on-year, in October from 18.2 percent in September, mainly as a result of a deceleration in lending to firms, according to data published by the Bank of Greece yesterday. In its monthly Bulletin of Conjunctural Indicators, the central bank said the deregulation of consumer credit as of June 30 this year has led to its acceleration, as it grew 23.9 percent in October compared to a year earlier (from 9.4 billion euros to 12.6 billion), up from 22.5 percent in September. Mortgages grew at a slightly lower rate, from 28.4 percent in September to 28.3 percent, totaling 25.55 billion euros (against 19.91 billion a year earlier). In total, household borrowing grew by 28.7 percent (from 28.6 percent), while lending to enterprises rose 10.8 percent year-on-year (against 12.7 percent in the previous month). «Other loans,» a category which includes borrowing to buy shares and overdrafts, registered an explosive growth of 135 percent. Personal loans grew 29.2 percent. In the 10 months to October, mortgages were 21.1 percent higher, year-on-year. The total of consumer and housing credit reached 38.4 billion euros, representing more than 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The balance of credit cards and consumer loans reached 11.67 billion euros in October, 23.9 percent higher than in the same month a year earlier. The balance of credit cards stood 27.8 percent higher year-on-year, compared to 29 percent for September.