Credit Unions Need to Expand their Forbrukslån after COVID-19


The price of accessing some small personal credits or loans can be pretty high for people who need it most. High-cost credits have been in the credit industry for many years, and it looks to get more significant because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Provident, the United Kingdom, and Ireland’s biggest high-cost doorstep loan providers are anticipating an increase in demand when the unemployment rate starts to rise as their furlough schemes start to wind down. Lending firms have reportedly put aside hundreds of billions to cover the expected surge in defaults. What have people learned since the regulations changed, and will borrowers who need these credits be able to have easy access post-COVID-19 pandemic?

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Capping or no capping?

High-interest rates (IR) is usually justified by the logic that there is a good chance that borrowers will default on their debentures, usually having been turned down by financial institutions. Higher IRs compensate the lending organization for higher risks. Be that as it may, lending firms earned a reputation for taking advantage of borrowers, especially after the pandemic. Some restrictions set caps on interest rates and fees (usually below 0.10% of outstanding principals per day), with a maximum total cost of one hundred percent of the principal loan.

This situation mirrored what is happening all over the world. For instance, in Germany, the maximum permissible Annual Percentage Rate is twice the rate as calculated by the financial regulator. In France, it is 1.33 times the current market rate. The main intention is to make loans more affordable for people in vulnerable situations.

This follows clear evidence that a lot of high-cost loan consumers are in low-income categories, with low financial resilience, as well as poor credit histories. It means that they may have problems coping well with financial problems. These individuals usually borrow on the basis of whether they can afford to pay the loan or to depend on the convenience of getting the debenture instead of the cost of the credit.

It can lead to repair borrowing, defaults, and financial strains. After all, these things are considered debts. Nonetheless, the debate still stands among policy experts all around the world about whether caps are the best solution to the problem.

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Supporters pointed out that various restrictions have minimized the cost of loans for low-income individuals, tackled over-indebtedness, as well as helped prevent individuals from getting taken advantage of. Some individuals may no longer have easy access to loans since some providers changed their business models or because they exited the market.

Still, a lot of these individuals would most probably not pass a strict affordability check or may have too many unpaid debts. Experts highlight the possible consequences and less access to loans as the main reason people have credit problems. Experts also worry about the possibility of illegal money-lending organizations, as well as loan firms introducing charges that avoid restrictions set by governments.

Influenced by these reasons, Ireland is one of the countries in Europe to favor increasing supervision and regulation over these caps. For instance, high-cost warnings in credit advertising became a necessary requirement from the start of September. Although government agencies are reviewing their general approach, their fear that these restrictions will cut credit supplies appear to have advantages.

What do pieces of evidence say?

According to reports, IR caps have reduced disadvantage practices and over-indebtedness, reduced loan defaults, and made short-term credits a lot cheaper. But experts cautioned financial institutions like traditional banks or lending firms against excluding riskier clients from formal loans since there is a good chance that they will borrow from financial institutions in countries with looser regulations and rules. It has happened in countries like the Netherlands.

Similarly, another review found that the United Kingdom restrictions led to a lot cheaper credits and fewer debt issues. These reports also saw little pieces of evidence of people turning to illegal money-lending organizations. One study agreed about much cheaper credits but warned that these things need to be accompanied by various measures to ensure affordable alternatives are readily available, as well as support individuals in making excellent loan decisions.

Financial institutions like credit unions are considered as one of the alternatives that the Financial Conduct Authority has acknowledged. They aim to create financial resilience by providing lending options with affordable interest rates, encouraging savings, as well as offering financial education and info.

This solution helps to improve people’s credit scores. In the United Kingdom alone, there are at least 400 credit unions with more or less two million members, and still rising. Credits to members passed one million Pounds in 2018, exceeding high-cost debentures.

Currently, credit unions and lending firms are permitted to charge up to 42% Annual Percentage Rate, a lot higher than the permissible rates for higher-cost service providers. But penetration is low compared to the total population of the United Kingdom, which is about 3.5%. People need to expand their reach of financial institutions and make sure they have a greater online presence to help them make quicker and better lending decisions.

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