Even though consumer credit only constitutes a small portion of households’ total credit, the interest rate and amortisation payments for these credits amount to more than half of the households’ total debt service payments. The analysis also shows that individual consumers are having difficulty paying for their consumer credit. Overall, this means that the consumer credit market could impact many households, which makes it important for consumer protection on the financial markets.
After the provisions regarding high-cost short-term credits were changed in 2018 – in part by introducing an interest rate ceiling and cost ceiling – these types of loans decreased sharply. It is probable that the reform has led to a decrease in the supply of high-cost short-term credits. It is also evident that several companies have stopped offering such loans.
Large credits are growing, but the smallest credits are growing faster. More borrowers are having difficulty making their payments soon after the credits are granted, and these payment difficulties are more prevalent among younger borrowers than older borrowers. These are some of the conclusions from Finansinspektionen's report this year on consumer credit. These conclusions indicate that lenders’ credit checks are not working as they should, and FI is therefore now reviewing the guidelines.
FI's Director General Erik Thedéen took part in a panel discussion during the conference "Consumer Behavior in Financial Markets", arranged by the Swedish House of Finance at the Stockholm School of Economics today.
Many banks are working actively with continuity management and have implemented key measures to reduce the risk of serious disruptions. At the same time, FI sees a need for the banks to further strengthen their continuity management. FI expects the banks to continue to focus on enhancing the resilience of their critical functions. This supervision report describes the areas where FI would like to see improvements.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published guidelines on 2 April on the criteria that must be fulfilled in order for measures taken to be viewed as general moratoria. FI considers exemptions from amortisation requirements for mortgages and payment reliefs for small and mid-sized firms in accordance with the Swedish National Debt Office’s loan guarantees to be measures that can be viewed as general moratoria under the guidelines.
FI’s Board of Directors has decided that the proposal communicated on 2 April will go into effect as of today. This means that banks will now be able to grant both new and existing mortgagors exemption from the requirement on amortisation. The exemption gives mortgagors greater financial manoeuvrability in these uncertain times during the spread of COVID-19.
Banks will have the possibility of offering all new and existing mortgagors an exemption from the amortisation requirements due to the spread of the coronavirus and its effects on the Swedish economy. The exemption will be in force until the end of June 2021. This enables Finansinspektionen to provide all mortgagors with greater manoeuvrability in these uncertain times.
The percentage of new mortgagors with a high level of debt in relation to either their income or the value of the home continues to be high. New mortgagors in 2019 increased their average loan-to-income ratio. The average loan-to-value ratio also increased in 2019 among new mortgagors, thus breaking the trend of falling loan-to-value ratios since 2013.
The spread of the coronavirus has introduced considerable challenges for society as a whole, and even the financial system. We find ourselves in an exceptional situation, and uncertainty is widespread. These extraordinary circumstances demand appropriate application of existing regulations, including rules for forbearance and assessment of a significant increase in credit risk.