The activity of specialized financial institutions that are members of the French Association of Financial Companies returned to pre-Covid levels in 2021. This is the main conclusion of the ASF Annual Report 2021, published in July 2022.
2021 marks a return to the pre-Covid level for most of the business of specialist credit institutions that are members of the ASF. Supporting economic activity, financing the digital revolution, and environmental transformation are also the three main priorities of specialized institutions.
The activity of specialized credit institutions covers both commercial and professional finance (leasing and lease financing), family finance (mainly consumer credit) and financial services such as factoring and guarantees, or investment and securitization services. In total, the activity of 260 members of the ASF finances 20% of loans to the French private sector, amounting to 290 billion euros.
back to normal”
Consumer credit growth of 12.5% in 2021 to reach a total production of €46 billion, equivalent to the production of 2019. This return to normal is largely due to the good trend in used car financing (+10%) and financing for household capital goods (+13.2%), with a record “Other dedicated financing” (motorcycles, pleasure boats) is the largest increase (+31% compared to 2019). On the other hand, personal loans are still struggling to return to their 2019 level (-6%), while revolving credit recovers slightly at the end of 2021 but remains lower than in 2019 (-4%).
Equipment financing for businesses and professionals increased by +10.7% compared to 2020 and +1.2% compared to 2019 with a total production of 36.3 billion euros. However, this production is largely concentrated on lease financing (equipment leasing and leasing operations with and without purchase option) with approximately 90% of the total of this financing being for businesses and professionals. After the sharp decline in 2020, equipment leasing increased +11% (€15.9 billion) but remained below its level in 2019 (-1.2%). On the other hand, related rental transactions with the option to purchase passenger cars exceeded the pre-crisis level in 2021 (+ 6.1% compared to 2019).
Commercial real estate financing recorded a sharp increase of +16.6% (8.2 billion euros) but still lags behind in 2019 (-8.1%). The good trend of this activity is driven by real estate rentals, which rose by +34.8% (4.9 billion euros), a higher level than before the crisis. On the other hand, the office building sector continues to suffer (- 17.7% compared to 2019, after the significant decline in 2020 (- 43.1%).
Three priorities on the agenda of finance experts
Supporting the economy, consumption and growth is a priority for ASF members. In the context of economic recovery, during 2021, specialized institutions supported consumption through consumer credit (+ 12.5%), and through an 11.7% increase in new financing for business equipment and people. Two new products aimed at facilitating cash flow for businesses and households were introduced: Factoring Order Financing and Lease Resale.
Financing the energy transition is the second priority for specialized facilities. For the first time, the follow-up can be traced, since 2021, the ASF’s “green finance” statistics for 2019 and 2020 have been published. With regard to energy regeneration in private housing, after new loans fell in 2020 due to restrictions, production rose sharply from the quarter The first of 2021 by +33.5%, financing 63,000 operations. In terms of financing offers for the purchase of less polluting cars to individuals, organizations funded 67,500 electric vehicles (either by earmarked credit or via LOA). New financing amounted to 1.5 billion euros in 2021, which is +197.4% compared to 2019.
Finally, anti-fraud is one of the main concerns of ASF members who are facing a massive upsurge in scams.. As part of the 2017 Electronic Privacy Regulation, the ASF requests that the rules applicable to cookies and other tracking tools be simplified by taking advantage of exemptions from consent collection in a certain number of circumstances, through the use of technology such as “Fingerprinting”, in particular the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (LCB-FT).