New figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that consumer finance new business grew in March 2021 by 7% compared with the same month in 2020. In Q1 2021, new business was 17% lower than in Q1 2020.
The retail store and online credit sector reported growth in new business of 11% in March compared with same month in 2020, and an increase of 2% in Q1 2021. The credit card and personal loan sectors together reported a fall in new business of 2% in March compared with the same month in 2020, and a contraction of 25% in Q1 2021 as a whole.
Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, Director of Research and Chief Economist at the FLA, said: “The consumer finance sectors represented by FLA members showed improvement across the board in March, with several reporting new business growth. A year on since the introduction of the first restrictions to deal with the pandemic, the market and wider economy continue to be impacted by ongoing restrictions. However, the latest set of figures show that the industry has adapted to meet the challenges posed by the crisis.
“FLA’s most recent research suggests that consumer finance providers are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for the rest of 2021. While mindful of the possibility of higher unemployment and a dip in confidence once the Government support schemes come to an end, 84% of respondents to our latest industry outlook survey expect new business growth over the next twelve months.”