The total amount borrowed by consumers also increased by 23%, reaching €390 million in 2020 and €481 million last year. According to experts in the consumer credit market, this change indicates that more people are borrowing for larger, well-thought-out purchases and are less likely to indulge in impulse purchases.
According to data by the lending platform Vivus.lt, more consumer loans were granted last year, with larger amounts of money being borrowed, and customers were less likely to borrow smaller amounts of money. According to the company's CEO, Giedrė Štuopė, as salaries and the standard of living rise, customers' habits are changing.
„We have noticed that last year the demand for small loans (up to €290) for everyday expenses such as food, clothes and taxes was lower, and people borrowed larger amounts of €1 000-2 000 more often. These changes were also influenced by the pandemic, which altered borrowing habits. People are increasingly concerned about the quality of their lives and are borrowing more for home repairs and improvements, as well as for health services and for professional development through various courses and seminars.“
According to the Bank of Lithuania, last year, the consumer credit portfolio grew faster than the linked credit (leasing) portfolio. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, the linked credit portfolio grew by 15% in 2021 and consumer credit by 22%.
Ms Štuopė points out that, as the consumer credit market matures, people are increasingly choosing to finance their purchases with consumer credit rather than leasing.
„While the number of people borrowing for a car has fallen during the quarantine period, in 2021, a car loan is back on the list of the most frequent reasons why people borrow money. With the loosening of pandemic constraints, the population has returned to the workplace, making owning vehicles relevant again. Data from the annual customer survey show that last year the volume of car loans returned to pre-pandemic levels, with around 15% of customers borrowing to upgrade their vehicle,“ says Štuopė.
The increasing maturity of customers
According to the head of Vivus.lt, the fact that customers are more responsible in their approach to borrowing, and when concluding a consumer credit agreement, they are more likely to borrow for home repairs, a car, health services or other changes in their quality of life, is a sign of maturity of the consumers and a gradually changing attitude.
„Short-term gratification has not been on people's priority list for some time now. Responsible financial management and planning are much more important. Of course, we still get borrowers for unexpected, unplanned expenses, but such loans are less likely to be for unnecessary purchases. We have also noticed that people are less likely to borrow to cover other financial commitments. This suggests that they are planning more carefully and are becoming more aware of their existing commitments,“ says Štuopė.
According to the company's CEO, people's attitudes towards consumer credit are also gradually changing, as it is becoming less shameful to borrow for important purchases or health procedures.