As consumers strapped for cash in the post-recession economy continue to sell off old pieces of unwanted jewellery, some UK pawnbrokers are beginning to provide quick loans to their customers as well as their traditional services.
Specialising in offering finance to customers who have been turned down by more traditional lenders, these pawnbrokers have begun to offer short term loans to those in need of emergency funds in the short term. One of the few sectors that have actually exhibited growth in these troubled economic times, pawnbrokers have been providing help to consumers in need of funds by purchasing their valuables and providing them with fast loans to help make ends meet.
Barry Stevenson, chief executive of Albemarle & Bond, one of the largest pawnbrokers within the UK, said that the firm now has 202 outlets in operation, up from 115 in 2009. Gross profits also grew to £31.5 million, an increase of 12 per cent, which Albermarle & Bond attributed to higher average loans per pledge, an increase in gold prices, and also the rise in its number of stores as well.
The pawnbroker’s pledge book, which is comprised of the value of its pawned loans, increased by a factor of 15 per cent to £3539 million, while its gold buying profits increased by more than 25 per cent to £14.6 million. The group’s bottom line was also kept healthy by 40 of its outlets being so-called ‘pop ups,’ or shops with short term leases and low installation costs that are specifically designed to accept gold from consumers in exchange for quick cash that can be used to pay bills.