HomeBussinessAlmost €2bn in personal loans drawn down last year, with growth in...

Almost €2bn in personal loans drawn down last year, with growth in all categories

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There was growth in all categories, which suggested a surge of consumer confidence with the easing of cost-of-living pressures.

The volume of car loans was up by over 24pc, and home-improvement loans were up almost 17pc.

The number of “green” personal loans was up by over 92pc, as customers drew down €95m. The designation of “green” is given by the lender, and these are mostly used to pay for home environmental improvements or to enhance energy efficiency. They can also include loans for electric or plug-in hybrid cars.

The green sector is poised for further growth, according to the BPFI, because of the introduction by the Government last month of a home energy upgrade loan scheme. This offers homeowners low-cost loans to make their dwellings more energy efficient.

“Our latest report shows a continued rise year-on-year in personal lending in the fourth quarter of 2023, bringing the annual total of personal loan drawdowns to almost 203,000 valued at nearly €2bn,” said Brian Hayes, chief executive of BPFI.

“This represents an increase of 17.9pc and 23.3pc in volume and value terms respectively, compared to 2022. While growth was seen across all categories, it is encouraging to see that strong growth in green personal loans continued into Q4 2023.”

Mr Hayes said that almost 6,500 green loans had been issued by the federation’s members in the past two years, and that lenders are well placed to support the rollout of the €500m energy upgrade scheme launched last month, which is to be managed by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

“These loans, in addition to grant support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, should help lower the financial barriers encountered by homeowners who want to make their home more energy efficient, making home energy upgrades more accessible and affordable,” he said.

The number of car loans rose by 7.2pc year-on-year to 11,800 in the final quarter of last year, while the value of these loans increased by 16.4pc to €147m. In annual terms, car or auto finance loan volume grew by just over 24pc to 57,789 draw-downs last year.

There were 12,283 home improvement loans in Q4, valued at €139m, just over 9pc higher than a year earlier.

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