In a complete about-face from two decades ago, the pawnbroking industry in the UK has been experiencing a resurgence as more Brits are looking for quick loans from sources besides High Street.
Whether they’re across from a reinforced glass screen or a chic desk, or whether they’re borrowing as little as £5 to much more significant sums, individuals across the nation are taking out instant cash loans in return for leaving personal property behind to secure the loan. There are no black marks against you if you default, and no credit checks to prevent you from getting your cash – just money for pawned item, typically around 40 per cent of its total value, to be returned plus interest after a few months.
Pawnbrokers, much like instant cash loan providers, have been exhibiting massive growth figures over the past few years as the economy takes its wild ride from recession to recovery. Albemarle and Bond, Harvey and Thompson, and other pawnbroking groups are doing brisk business, with the former announcing 25 more shops will be opened in 2012 and the latter exhibiting year-on-year growth in the double digits.
There are more than 1,000 pawnbroking firms operating within the UK, a far cry from the less than 50 that were in operation in the 1970s. However, more than just the global economic downturn may be responsible for the sudden proliferation of pawnbrokers, as National Pawnbrokers Association chief executive Des Milligan states.
The NPA chief says that growth has been steady since the 1980s due to large investments made by major chains in ideally-located sites, with refurbishment efforts being taken to modernise them and make them welcoming.