Pawnbrokers see ‘record levels’ of demand amid cost of living crisis

Demand for pawnbroking has reached ‘record levels’ amid the cost of living crisis, according to the boss of the country’s largest pawnbroker.

The chief executive of H&T, which has 267 stores, said an absence of alternative ways to get quick cash had also boosted his business.

Access to ‘small-sum’ credit was ‘constrained now in a way it hasn’t been for many years,’ boss Chris Gillespie said.

People are resorting to pawnbrokers as an alternative to mainstream banks and to payday lending, which has been hit with a clampdown by regulators.

‘If you only want and need to borrow £200, your options are very limited,’ Gillespie told the Financial Times.

(Stock Photo) People are resorting to pawnbrokers as an alternative to mainstream banks and to payday lending, which has been hit with a clampdown by regulators

(Stock Photo) Industry insiders also say pawnbrokers are ascending the social scale in the cost-of-living crisis

It comes after payday lender Wonga collapsed in 2018 and guarantor loan provider Amigo said it was winding down this spring.

The company’s pledge book – the value of outstanding loans – was worth £115million in June, compared to £85.1million the previous year.

James Constantinou, the founder of Prestige Pawnbrokers, told The Mail earlier this year that consumers are desperate for short-term cash but banks are not lending, adding: ‘Our phones are ringing off the wall.’

The Mail reported that pawn shops had opened in unlikely locations in recent years – including in the City of London, for traders whose bonuses have been disappointing.

Industry insiders also say pawnbrokers are ascending the social scale in the cost-of-living crisis, with shops thriving in middle-class havens such as Harrogate in north Yorkshire.

Cost of Living Crisis

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