Consumer lending down in 2010
However, this figure was inflated by a buoyant consumer car market – without this boost, consumer credit fell by 10% during 2010.
In December – traditionally a month when more customers use credit for some of their Christmas spending – we saw a fall in credit sales. Credit card spending was down by 5%, store cards and store instalment credit fell by more than a quarter each.
The figures reflect a difficult month on the High Street with poorer than expected Christmas sales. For the second consecutive month, the take-up of personal loans increased, but this was against a very low base in the final months of 2009.
Commenting, Fiona Hoyle, FLA head of consumer finance, said: “These figures confirm that there is no such thing as ‘easy credit’. Stricter lending requirements under the new EU Consumer Credit Directive mean that some consumers are finding it harder to access credit. Low consumer confidence is also a major factor in this fall in lending.
“Against this background of reduced lending and declining consumer confidence, the Government needs to be careful not to regulate some kinds of credit out of the market. For example, current proposals to restrict the store card sector could have serious repercussions for a High Street recovery and adversely affect customers with modest credit needs.”