Consumer lending has become an integral part of modern economies, providing individuals and households with access to credit to finance their consumption needs.
In Pakistan, consumer lending has witnessed significant growth over the past few decades, driven by various factors, including rising income levels, changing demographics, and financial sector liberalization.
Pakistan’s Consumer Lending Landscape
As per the SBP’s Financial Stability Review 2021, the outstanding consumer financing in Pakistan was Rs. 971 billion at the end of December 2020, with a YoY growth rate of 14.9%.
Experts at smslansnabb.se note that one of the main drivers of consumer lending in Pakistan has been the growth of the banking sector. The banking sector has played a crucial role in expanding access to credit for consumers, especially in urban areas.
Over the past decade, banks have launched various consumer lending products, including credit cards, personal, car, and home loans. These products have become increasingly popular among consumers, especially the growing middle class, looking to finance their consumption needs.
Challenges And Opportunities
Despite the rapid growth of consumer lending in Pakistan, several challenges must be addressed. One of the key challenges is the low penetration of financial services, especially in rural areas.
According to the smslansnabb.se research, only 21% of adults in Pakistan have an account at a formal financial institution. This limits access to credit and other financial services for a large population segment.
Another challenge is the high cost of credit, which limits the affordability of consumer lending for many consumers. According to the SBP’s Financial Stability Review 2021, Pakistan’s weighted average lending rate for consumer lending was 17.8% in December 2020.
This is higher than the lending rates for other types of credit, such as agriculture and SME lending. Despite these challenges, Pakistan has several opportunities for consumer lending growth.
One of the main opportunities is the large and growing consumer market. It presents a significant potential for banks and other financial institutions. As incomes rise and consumer preferences evolve, there is likely to be an increasing demand for consumer lending products.
Another opportunity is the growing use of technology in the financial sector. This has the potential to improve access to credit and reduce the cost of credit.
For example, digital lending platforms are emerging in Pakistan. They allow consumers to apply for loans online and receive instant approvals. These platforms can potentially expand access to credit for consumers, especially those in rural areas.
Consumer lending has become an essential part of the Pakistani economy. It gives individuals, and households access to credit to finance their consumption needs. Still, as of 2023, the market is facing different challenges. These include the low penetration of financial services and the high cost of credit. But there are significant opportunities for the growth of consumer lending in Pakistan. This is especially the case with the growing use of technology in the financial sector.