Loans go green

Cars and motorbikes, holidays, and home purchases. The easing of the health emergency (with the hope that the new pandemic wave does not create particular criticalities on the hospital system) pushes families to return to consumption, the component that suffered most in 2020.

Cars and motorbikes, holidays, and home purchases. The recovery pushes Families to return to consumption, the component that suffered most during 2020. Of course, the pre-pandemic levels have not yet been reached, but in the meantime, the trend is clear and consequently influences the trend in credit to the consumption.

I study

According to the surveys by Assofin, Crif, and Prometeia, during the first nine months, consumer credit has seen flows grow by 18.85 compared to the same period last year. An important rebound, but in some ways taken for granted, considering that 2020 was a year strongly characterized by lockdowns. The comparison with the first nine months of 2019 is instead negative (-9.7%), even if the gap has been narrowing from quarter to quarter.

At a sectoral level, loans for the purchase of cars and motorcycles did well, up by 22.3% compared to the first nine months of 2020 and by 1.4% compared to the same period of 2019. lastly, driven by loans for used cars and two-wheelers and favored by eco-incentives aimed both at supporting the automotive market and at improving the sustainability of the vehicle fleet. In this regard, it will be necessary to wait for confirmation from the next surveys to understand whether the difficulties in the car/motorcycle sector relating to the lack of electronic components will slow down the sector’s disbursements or not.

The loans for the purchase of other goods and services (in sectors such as electronics, appliances, furniture) in the first nine months of 2021 grew by 18.2%, which translates into a replica of the pre-crisis volumes. Within this category, those destined for the purchase of household appliances/electronics showed greater resilience, also thanks to e-commerce.

Of note, then, that the funding against cession of the fifth of salary/pension exceeds pre-pandemic volumes, thanks to grants from public employees, the least affected by the negative impact on income caused by the crisis. Total disbursements close the first nine months of 2021 with a double-digit increase (+ 15.3% on the same period of 2020), containing the gap with the same period of 2019 (-3.5%).

However, the gap with the last pre-pandemic year for personal loans remains much wider. The comparison indicates a drop in flows disbursed between the first nine months of 2019 and the same period of this year in the order of 18.1%.

Finally, the use of the option/installment cards in installments continues the downward trend in comparison with both 2020 (-6%) and 2019 (-17.8%). The product also suffers, in particular on purchases with a lower value, the competition of deferred payment instruments, widespread in the e-commerce sector.

Strong rebound in mortgages

Not just numbers. The study also focuses on the changes taking place in the sector, reporting that household credit is experiencing an acceleration in the digitization of processes, also facilitated by the simplification measures adopted by the national legislator regarding the electronic signing of contracts. This has led to an increase in the offer of financial products through web platforms and to greater access to credit on this channel. The other great evolutionary trend is green lending, with the share of consumer finance on the total increased during the pandemic. At the same time, mortgages destined for the energy efficiency of the home increase. Loans for the purchase of the house are experiencing a golden period, with the flows of disbursements jumping by 21.3% compared to the first nine months of 2020, while the number of contracts signed rose by 16.1%.

Finally, a look of perspective. The authors of the study expect that consumer credit flows will consolidate growth in the two years 2022-23, recovering pre-Covid levels. The recovery will be driven by targeted loans, favored by incentives for energy efficiency, while the recovery of personal ones will be slower. Good prospects also for real estate mortgages, also thanks to the impulses deriving from government incentives.

The quarterly study by Assofin, Crif, and Prometeia reports a strong recovery in consumer credit, even if pre-pandemic levels have not been reached. Digitization and sustainability are the new trends in the sector.

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