Probably better than any other major lender, Britain\'s largest retail bank holds up the most accurate mirror to the economy, providing a good reflection of what has happened since the start of the year and where things might be heading. With this in mind, and despite the increase in the bank\'s profits, the signs do not appear too promising; for within the small print of today\'s first quarter results are contained some worrying messages. Take the footnote to Lloyds\' \"good bank\" numbers, which showed an 11pc fall in the underlying income of its so-called core business, as a result of what the bank said was \"subdued new lending demand, continued customer deleveraging, and a lower banking net interest margin\". In those 14 words, the bank has neatly summed up the problems it and the wider economy are currently facing. Essentially, it tells us that business confidence remains low, that consumers still have too much debt and will be continuing to pay down their borrowings rather than going on the spending splurge the government would like, and finally that borrowing costs are rising. None of this should be surprising. That business confidence is low is hardly breaking news and neither is the fact that Britons have too much debt, but what they point to is a natural break on Lloyds\' profitability and on the ability of the wider economy to grow.