The conflict in Ukraine pushes the rush of Italian families to grab liquidity, a trend already triggered by the pandemic. Deposits parked in current accounts grow even in times of war, as well as requests for loans, both personal and finalized. So much so that the race requires banks to invest in innovation and digital services.
The surge in deposits
Neither the war that broke out at the end of February nor the fears linked to inflation, therefore, seem to halt the race of Italians to “liquid” savings. Deposits of consumer households, in particular, in March touched 1,174 billion euros, up 0.21% compared to the previous month, when the Russian military offensive began. To say this are the data on the amounts of the Bank of Italy, which have recorded a constant trend in the last two years: since the pandemic exploded (March 2020) the increase was 9.96 per cent.
The trend is confirmed by the ABI estimates for the month of April, on the basis of which the deposits (including those in current accounts, certificates of deposit and repurchase agreements) of all resident customers – including businesses – have increased by a further 5.2%, up by 92 billion euros in one year.
To a large extent, this was initially a backlash linked to the inability to spend on many sectors and services and uncertainty about the future. Then came the consumer crisis. So much so that today liquidity puts banks under pressure, risking excessively burdening management costs, thanks to a long period of negative rates. Hence the need for credit institutions to better monitor flows, invest to optimize expenses and incentivize investment modules, for example with the aim of encouraging customers to transform part of their liquidity into funds or policies. In fact, there is no rate of return that can save the deposits set aside by the rise in inflation.
Boom in “short” loans
In the meantime, in May the requests for loans from families, both personal and finalized, increased by 23% according to Crif. And demand drives up disbursements, which grew by 4% in March (latest ABI bulletin). Both mortgages for house purchases (+ 5.2%) and consumer credit (+ 1.7%) are up. In particular, at the end of 2021 the share of sales financed by mortgage loan increased to 73%, approaching the values of the summer of 2019.