Consumer finance new business fell by 34% in January 2021

15 March 2021

New figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that consumer finance new business fell in January 2021 by 34% compared with the same month in 2020.

The retail store and online credit sector reported new business 1% lower in January than in the same month in 2020.  By contrast, credit card and personal loan new business together fell by 40% over the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, Director of Research and Chief Economist at the FLA, said:

“With online sales now accounting for a record 35% of all retail sales, it is not surprising to see the retail store and online credit sector performing well despite the UK-wide lockdown restrictions.

“A strong recovery in consumer spending is expected in the second half of 2021 supported in part by household savings. Our latest research also suggests that the UK consumer credit market will return to growth this year, with new business expected to increase by 13% in 2021 as a whole, and the quarterly level of new credit to return to pre-crisis levels in the final quarter of 2021.”

 Table 1: New consumer credit lending


Jan 2021

% change on prev. year

3 months to Jan 2021

% change on prev. year

12 months to Jan 2021

% change on prev. year

Total FLA consumer finance (£m)







Data extracts:







Retail store and online credit (£m)







Credit cards & personal loans (£m)







Second charge mortgages (£m)







Car finance (£m)







 Note to editors:

  1. FLA members in the consumer finance sector include banks, credit card providers, store card providers, second-charge mortgage lenders, motor finance providers, personal loan and instalment credit providers.
  2. In 2020, FLA members provided £113 billion of new finance to UK businesses and households. £86 billion of this was in the form of consumer credit representing over a third of total new consumer credit written in the UK in 2020.
  3. Consumer motor finance reported in these figures refers to finance obtained through the point of sale.
  4. For media enquiries, please contact the FLA press office on 020 7420 9656.

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