Despite the resounding optimism of financial institutions, which see in the good performance of the main macroeconomic indicators the most obvious signs of the current expansive cycle, the start of the Christmas campaign has been somewhat more uncertain this year that 12 months ago Yes a possible slowdown in consumption will be confirmed in the coming weeks, "the request for credits could be rolled back, although, at the beginning, they would do so in a mild way", in the words of Antonio Gallardo, finance expert of the iBeach banking comparator. Beyond this possibility, some limits to the concession and some important innovations will dominate consumer credit in the coming months, a financial sector that is experiencing a season of strong growth.
In fact, in the absence of knowing the data of the last quarter, the total volume of personal loans granted by financial institutions in Spain grew by 5.9% year-on-year in September to 181,167 million euros, according to the Bank of Spain. The increase is even higher, 9.38%, if only the shortest term loans, from one to five years. A fact that evidences the ascending importance of those that are related to expenses of a medium amount, that is, typically, appliances, trips and small reforms, among others.
Supply, demand and risk
"It is normal that in periods of growth, such as those we are living in, citizens increase their consumption and the renovation of certain goods with financing destined for these purposes", explains the director of ING loans, Jorge Rodríguez Maroto. After the crisis, in addition, the levels from which it started were very low, "so the figures we are recording seem more striking, although we are still below the 2008 data," he adds. If we add to this the recovery of employment, the result will be that "we simply buy and finance more", concludes Ibercaja's finance manager, Santiago Ramón y Cajal Asensio.
"Greater supply, ease of lending by banks, and more demand" define the phase that crosses consumer credit, Gallardo sums up. Developing in the environment of personal loans, with a higher delinquency rate than others, exposes the entities to significant risks, of which the Bank of Spain repeatedly warned this year. In the opinion of the general director of Bankinter Consumer Finance, Alfonso Saez, "this risk is not so much in the activity itself, as in the way in which it is carried out". That is, it is about keeping under control the default associated with this business and its relative weight in the bank's balance sheet.
Limits to the concession
One measure to achieve this, and that has already been implemented in other countries, is the so-called bureau of credit, a proposal that Rodríguez judges "interesting". Contrary to what happens with files of defaulters, in which the debtor enters when he can not face the return, in the bureau of credit any user has a score that can increase or decrease, according to their behavior. In this way, "the process of risk assessment, the control of over-indebtedness and delinquency rates would be facilitated," Rodríguez emphasizes. Customers would also benefit from this, he says, "as competition would increase and product conditions improve."
In any case, the question was resolved last 14th, when the Government adopted the decree law that gives the Bank of Spain the capacity to establish restrictions on the granting of credit. To establish these limits, the supervisor may take into account, among other factors, the relationship between the nominal loan and the value of the guarantee or the relationship between the periodic payment of interest and the borrower's income.
For Gallardo, who advocates improve financial culture and making a use of the loans more responsible than in the past, the user himself should be able to limit the risk. "We have to raise the level of self-demand by getting into debt in fundamental expenses and with quotas that we can face without problems according to our income," he says. Likewise, he suggests "always having a mattress corresponding to two or three installments".
More 'fintech' and disruption
In any case, the entities believe that next year e-commerce will acquire greater weight in consumer credit. "The financing at the time of the purchase of a good or service will continue to be the trend of this segment," explains Ramón y Cajal, "with special relevance in the internet point of sale." In the same line, the general director of Sabadell Consumer Finance, Miguel Costa, emphasizes that "the e-commerce it will favor a new format of consumer credit that will have to be easy and safe ".
The fintech they will also have a prominent role, according to Pablo Ripol, marketing manager for the Iberian Peninsula of Younited Credit, an entity online specialized in loans. These emerging, agile and ambitious technology companies, which presume to provide financial services more quickly, efficiently and user-friendly with respect to the bank for life, will be developed in "a more flexible regulatory framework, thanks to the draft law of digital transformation that was presented last July ".
At the same time, the transposition of the new European payments services directive (PSD2) will entail that the entities' clients are the true owners of their data and can share them with third parties. that it is already possible to use services from a app (for example, that of an airline) through another (for example, Facebook), for Ripol "we will see more and more applications that, through the banking information of a specific client, will be able to offer more efficient and higher value services added. "