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Ekonomia

Consumer credit criteria are eased, but what happens to housing?

Consumer credit criteria are eased, but what happens to housing?

Credit criteria for individuals were fragmented during this quarter, with an easing of them for consumer loans and a tightening of loans granted to finance housing purchases. The easing of standards for consumer credit came out of the expectation of the Bank of Albania, as a tightening of conditions was foreseen both in loans for the purchase of housing and in those for the financing of consumption.

According to data from the Bank of Albania, banks have attracted individuals to apply for consumer loans by reducing commissions, applying lower margins and increasing the size of the loan. Also, as factors that influenced the easing of credit terms and conditions for individuals were the increase of competition in the banking system, the higher tolerance of banks against taking on risk or the extension of the loan maturity only in loans approved for the purpose of financing consumption. The ratio of loans granted to total loan applications was higher, driven by banks' perception of individuals' solvency and credit history.

In relation to loans granted to individuals for the purpose of purchasing housing, banks somewhat tightened the price elements, through the application of higher margins. The tightening of the standards was also based on the banks' perception of the current and expected developments in the housing market, the environment of interest rates or the higher requirements for collateral in loans for the purchase of housing.

Even during the first quarter of 2024, the situation was the same. The tightening of standards was applied only to loans for the purchase of housing, influenced by a single bank of the system. On the other hand, credit standards were eased in consumer loans.