The Manubank magazine interviewed two consumer credit experts : Cristy Turner, Assofin’s Head of Studies, Statistics and Training, and Mich Salinio, an expert financial advisor with numerous publications and collaborations with leading economics and finance. With them we analyzed the current situation of personal loans and how the relationship between Italians and consumer credit has evolved over time.
The trend in loans in 2015 is positive compared to 2014. It is not just a quantitative increase: the trend is positive also in quality. Salinio stresses that the increase was mainly in loans for the purchase of durable consumer goods against a decrease in loans dedicated to the buffering of non-performing liquidity. A 2015 characterized, therefore, by the confidence in the ability to deal with debt and the recovery of the desire to make purchases against the “lack of needs due to lack of liquidity”. Signals of an “improvement in the income and assets situation”.
Also according to Van Toorenburg ” the recovery of consumer credit is therefore linked to the recovery of household spending on durable goods”. The data are corroborated by the findings of the Assofin Observatory on Consumer Credit.
The role of interest rates on credit recovery
Interest rates in 2015 have reached historic lows. An element that for both Van Toorenburg and Salinio contributed positively to the recovery of credit in Italy. Despite the traditional “Italian prudence” regarding loans compared to the Angle Xiu market, the confidence in the possibility of repaying loans thanks to advantageous rates has been an incisive lever. To be combined with the lowering of property prices.
Is it only a recovery or even a change in consumer attitudes?
Can we say that the recovery of consumer credit for the purchase of non-essential goods was also dictated by a change in the consumption needs of the Italians? According to Salinio we are at the beginning of a process of change in the way Italians perceive consumption and their priorities. A change “that can be positive in the long term”.
According to Van Toorenburg, however, the tow is the “replacement” purchase: the one that had been postponed for so long due to the crisis. “Slowly we are recovering, even if consumption styles have changed in part, now more attentive and aware”.
Has the crisis been the sunset of the people of savers?
Italians have always been a people of savers. According to Salinio, the crisis has affected the habit of consumption, but has not denied the traditional Italian prudence: it was not attempted to maintain the pre-crisis consumption standards, but to adapt to the changed conditions.
Also for Van Toorenburg, the contraction in consumer credit starting in 2009 is a sign that Italian households are able to evaluate with caution what their spending power is in the long run.