Home » Families increasingly indebted. FirstCisl: “Loans have grown by 44% in seven years”

Families increasingly indebted. FirstCisl: “Loans have grown by 44% in seven years”

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Families increasingly indebted.  FirstCisl: “Loans have grown by 44% in seven years”

The number of loans to families is rising. The increase mainly concerns the Northern Regions of the country. The increase in interest rates does not slow down Italians’ use of consumer credit. In fact, the loans granted continue to grow quarter after quarter. In 2016 their amount was just under 107 billion euros, in 2023 we have reached almost 154 billion: a 44% increase in just seven years. These are just some of the data from the analysis on consumer credit conducted by the Fiba Foundation of First Cisl on Bankitalia data.

From the statistics of the Bank of Italy it emerges that consumer credit reached 153.86 billion euros in March this year, of which 113 were disbursed by banks and 40.86 by financial companies (as at 30 June 2016 the amounts were respectively of 78.36 and 28.46 billion, for a total of 106.82 billion). Considering the banks alone, in 2002, the year from which the historical series starts, the amount was approximately 27.5 billion.

Furthermore, the growth of consumer credit is decidedly more sustained than that recorded by total loans to families: 44% versus 14% in the period considered. The Bank of Italy also highlights how loans for consumption purposes now represent “a quarter of total loans to families and in relation to disposable income they have reached 12.8%, a value higher than the euro area average (9 .6%)”.

However, this is not a homogeneous growth: North – West and North – East (+ 49.8% and + 55.4%) surpass the Centre, South and Islands (+ 42.9%, + 36.5% and + 33 %). Among the regions, Trentino Alto Adige stands out (68.1%), with a growth rate that is 2.7 times higher than that of Sardinia (25%).

The rates applied to consumer credit remained essentially stable from June 2016 to June 2022. They began to move upwards with the start of the tightening launched by the ECB, but the increases decided by the latter from July 2022 were incorporated only in partial measurement. The ECB in fact raised rates from 0% to 3.5% in March 2023, while the APR on consumer credit went from 8.34% in mid-2022 to 10.12% in March 2023. This is probably explained by an already very high initial level of consumer credit rates. Furthermore, a strong penalty emerges for smaller amounts and therefore for the weakest segments of the population.

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Colombani: risk of over-indebtedness, stronger transparency safeguards

and educational processes to prevent risks

“The very significant growth in consumer credit must be evaluated very carefully. The higher ratio of disposable income compared to the European average leads us to hypothesize that many families finance current expenditure in this way to maintain their lifestyle or to cope with difficult situations – underlines the general secretary of First CISL Riccardo Colombani – In fact, despite the high rates, the rush to get into debt is not slowing down: it is likely that the speed in granting financing will end up prevailing over any other consideration, including the actual convenience of the financing”. “The new consumer credit formulas, even those characterized by few installments and zero interest such as ‘buy now, pay later’, encourage people to consume, but they risk causing situations of over-indebtedness – adds Colombani – For these reasons it is appropriate that transparency measures are strengthened, giving greater publicity to data and information and that investments are made in structured educational processes to increase individual and collective awareness”.

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