- The COVID-19 crisis hit hard on the loan industry in Poland, the loan supply is plummeting by 75%.
- LOANDO Group stays strong but admits that it’s also up to the government and investors to decide the fate of the market.
By helping citizens and implementing the credit holiday solution in Poland, the government left the loan industry overboard. Some smaller companies have already suspended their operations, and the largest ones are counting losses. Jarosław Ryba, president of the Polish Association of Loan Institutions, compared the effect of the anti-crisis shield campaign to a decision when a clothing manufacturer would have to sell his goods below the cost of production.
The new regulations set the maximum amount of non-interest consumer loan expenses. These costs cannot exceed 45% of the total loan amount (up to 21% for loans granted for a period longer than 30 days and 5% for loans for up to 30 days).
To put it straightforwardly, loan market regulations introduced by the government, made loan companies unprofitable. Due to the challenges that the industry is facing right now, up to several dozen thousand people may lose their jobs.
‘The government solution negatively interferes with the business model of loan institutions. No chance was given to loan companies to prepare a new offer – the decision came into force at the time of its announcement,’ Jarosław Ryba, explained in an interview with Business Insider Polska.
ITKeyMedia reached out to Krzysztof Przybysz, CEO at LOANDO Group, owner of loando.pl, pozyczkaportal.pl, to ask his opinion about what’s going on with the loan industry in Poland and what to expect after the crisis ends.
- LOANDO Group is a global ecosystem of innovative companies and startups working in fintech and digital marketing.
- Loando.pl compares financial offers and facilitates the choice of banking and non-banking products.
- Pozyczkaportal.pl is the biggest portal in Poland offering personalized search for loan products.
ITKeyMedia: How has the pandemic changed the market of loans in Poland?
Krzysztof Przybysz: In the current situation, we observe a decrease in the supply of loans at a level of 75%.
Why has the market sunk so much you think?
There are several reasons for this situation, such as:
- Reduction of non-interest expenses. By introducing the anti-crisis shield, the government introduced a legal provision significantly reducing the amount of non-interest costs. The current level requires lenders to drastically reduce their operating costs, including marketing costs while cutting off the riskiest customer groups from financing.
- Uncertainty among investors. The new regulations caused an outflow of capital. Investors, fearing a smaller return on investment, refrained from investing their funds in loan institutions until they stabilized on the loan market.
- Clients’ fear of losing their jobs prevents them from incurring new commitments. The freezing of the Polish economy might have forced some employers to reduce the number of full-time jobs in their companies. This can cause a lot of customers to fear that they would be unable to pay back the amount that they owe. This is why some customers, in fear of losing financial stability, are less willing to use the services of financial institutions, which may later drive them into a spiral of debt. Much of these problems can be mitigated if people are aware of how much they will owe once interest is added to the borrowed amount. A good loan calculator, in these situations can be a great help. It will not only let prospective borrowers visualize the payback amount more clearly, it will also give them a better picture of whether they can afford a loan or not.
- Clients’ fear of losing their jobs demotivates some of them to settle their existing liabilities. Some customers who have used the services of loan institutions are unable to settle their liabilities, which significantly affects the quality of these companies’ portfolios and causes a significant tightening of the criteria for granting loans.
- The switch of some loan institutions from granting loans via offline brokers to the attempt to enter the online market. Some lending companies providing loans in the offline channel have been forced to completely remodel their business and move it to an online channel. Not that online lending companies do not have success, in fact, there are many reputable firms that tend to offer loan amounts to individuals in need (you can read more here). However, the transition for these entrepreneurs could be a little difficult. And, a significant proportion of them, are still struggling to transform their business model.
Have you implemented any new solutions as a response to COVID-19?
Loando is a broker connecting loan institutions with people looking for quick financing. We do not grant loans ourselves and our operations currently focus on adapting loan institutions’ offers to our current legal conditions.
In your opinion, how will the market of loans look like in the post-pandemic world? Will there be any new landmarks?
What the non-bank loan market will look like after the pandemic depends on several factors:
- Legal regulations. It depends on whether the government loosens the current regulations that reduce the maximum amount of non-interest expenses. Many loan institutions may not be able to operate at such low loan costs, which will keep the supply of financial products at the low level.
- Investors’ motivation to invest in the loan industry. If the market proves that it is able to function in the new reality, then investors will be more willingly putting money in the industry.
- Whether financial institutions will adapt their business models to the new reality. After the pandemic ends, the winner-companies in the fintech industry would be those who instead of waiting for the return of the “old world”, remodel their business and adapt to current realities.