Personal loans rise as consumers shun lending through store cards

Consumers continued to shun borrowing to fund high street spending during November but there was a big jump in demand for personal loans.

Lending through store cards dived by 25 per cent during the month, compared with November last year, with just 202m advanced, according to the Finance & Leasing Association.

There was also an 11 per cent fall in borrowing through store instalment credit, under which people buy large items such as furniture or household goods through monthly payments.

Credit card lending was flat year-on-year, although at 2.71bn it remained the single largest area of advances.

The latest figures follow sharp declines in these areas in October, when borrowing through store cards was down 33 per cent year-on-year and store instalment credit dropped by 27 per cent. But borrowing through personal loans soared by 34 per cent in November compared with 12 months ago, with 208m advanced, although the FLA cautioned that some of the rise was due to a very weak figure for November 2009. There was also a 3 per cent rise in demand for car finance, but lending through second mortgages fell by 31 per cent. Overall, total advances by FLA members during the month were unchanged on a year earlier at 4.38bn.

A range of new measures to protect credit and store card customers came into force at the beginning of the year, and further changes are due to come in at the beginning of next month, when the EU's Consumer Credit Directive becomes law.

Fiona Hoyle, FLA head of consumer finance, said: "These figures send a clear message to the Government about the challenges to be faced when considering further regulatory changes in the consumer credit sector while ensuring that the UK maintains a competitive market with real consumer choice."