Falling and rising: The numbers surrounding the personal finance industry – Guest Editorial
British analyst Tim Woodley looks at the current issues surrounding many customers of retail financial services companies
By Tim Woodley, a UK-based financial copywriter with over 8 years of interaction with the markets, using his experience and skill to draw out and discuss interesting financial subjects and learning points that help make life better.
The country continues to adjust and dig in its heels to face the changes brought by COVID-19. At this time, it’s undeniable that mayn industries have been affected, with the personal loans industry one of them. The face of the UK markets has changed entirely in a few short months, driving consumers into different patterns of behaviour in regard to their spending and movement.
This is shaking things up, to say the least. We’re now seeing the dust somewhat settle on the subject, leaving behind the undeniable fact that damage has been done.
Issues at scale.
It’s easy to forget the numbers involved in the personal loans industry in the UK alone.
Valued at over 23 billion Pounds in the country, it’s a behemoth and a cornerstone of our economy and GDP. With figureheads of the industry struggling and even going under, analysts are watching like a hawk to see how the resilience of other key players will be tested.
As discussion moves to a second wave and even a life living with the threat of the pandemic everpresent, all eyes are on the retail market and how physical storefronts and branches, of which many are owned by loans providers like Everyday Loans Ltd, fare in the months to come.
Consumers: A staggering savings trend or just a flash in the pan?
One topic inescapable in recent months is the sudden boom in spending by consumers during the COVID period. We’ve seen a staggering increase in the elimination of household and credit card debt, with billions of Pounds being slashed from the total spread across adults in the UK.
The reasons for this appear clear: The uncertainty around COVID and its potential effect on income and stability has put many in a worried state. Seen in the pictures of empty shelves in the first weeks of lockdown is a justified concern over income. This has combined with adults being locked down in one place to create a surge in repayments.
While it’s hopeful to see a trend like this continue with so much debt removed so quickly, it’s expected for the country to adjust back into a more normal pattern of spending and repayment.
We’ve also seen widespread tightening of the reins across the personal loans industry of late. Many providers of loans, particularly mortgages, have drastically cut back the availability of their services. Others have simply frozen their services entirely.
Disrupting cashflow to large organisations in this manner is extremely threatening to their survival, making the pandemic a real concern to many in the industry. As has been seen in high-profile cases, not all established and leading loans providers and brokers will have what it takes to push through in one piece.
Eyes remain on the government.
With so much uncertain and up in the air, it’s still the case that all eyes are watching the government like a hawk. With recently extended stimulus packages boosting families and adults across the country and billions in support extended to companies to enable furloughs, it is hoped that the loans industry will survive the blows it is receiving at present.
With government support not expected to be longlasting, the key challenge to loans providers is set to be opening their services back up to help those who need it most in a unique time. With stricter criteria and adjustments to ways of working, it is hoped that adults in need of financial assistance can once again turn to the brokers and lenders who have served that need in the past.
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