Despite the generally poor economic situation the consumer finance market in the UK reported significant growth in 2012, according to figures collated by the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA). The figures claim a general growth in lending of around 6% over the whole of 2012, with certain areas showing more serious growth than others. The figures suggest that restrictions on consumer lending have eased of late, with more people than ever before borrowing at a time when the opposite may have been expected.
Cars and High Street
The main areas of growth appear to have been in lending on car finance and in high street shops – where store instalments are in growth – and there are other areas where people have been showing an increased propensity to borrow. Point of sale credit is among the fastest growing areas of borrowing, and it would seem that many people are looking to borrow to boost flagging incomes in times of hardship.
Car Credit Jump
The rapid rise in car finance credit – up by 22% over the previous year – indicates increased consumer confidence, while the 15% jump in in-store credit is also indicative of a change in the financial markets. Store cards, on the other hand, are showing a move in the opposite direction with a fall in uptake of over 15% in the year, perhaps indicating that there are better deals to be had with instalment credit and other forms of finance.
Credit Cards and Loans
The market for credit cards and personal loans, according to the FLA figures, is pretty much static at the moment with an overall fall of just over one percent, although there are signs that the loans market is about to take a turn for the better with interest rates at an all-time low. The ongoing financial crisis is still in full effect, but with these latest figures comes a sense of optimism that can only be described as positive. 2013 promises a sea change in the way we are borrowing if last year is any indication, and it will be interesting to see how things fare in the next 12 months.