From Money-Market UK Dot Com
With Banks closing their doors to many customers wishing to borrow money, a growing number is turning to pawnbrokers for help with cash flow needs. And as operators report a huge upsurge in business, customers find that borrowing against valuables is quick and cost-effective short-term when compared to other forms of lending, particularly unauthorised overdrafts.
Suttons and Robertsons, London’s oldest pawnbroker reports brisk, repeat business with many of its customers returning and borrowing cash of around £2,000 on average against gold jewellery, diamonds, antiques and even works of art.
In its South Kensington store, the average loan is £6,000 and the largest amount the group has loaned to date is £250,000 but, has the funds to lend up to £1m should the need arise. It has just opened a branch in Fleet Street offering quick and discreet service to the City – so there is every chance a £1m-pound customer may walk through the door!
Director of Suttons and Robertsons Jim Tannahill has worked for the firm for near 30 years: “In the early 80’s pawnbroking saw a resurgence in popularity; but it was the start of the credit crunch around six years ago when business really started to boom. We suddenly started to see lots more Rolex and other luxury watches, large diamonds and items that were directly the trappings of wealth from years of prosperity. A typical customer was not someone to be regarded as being in financial difficulty”.
Most were simply used to a certain lifestyle and using our services to cover holidays, school fees, and even business deals, because it was becoming much easier to borrow from us than from the more traditional high street lenders.”
And growth in the industry shows no sign of slowing. But using a Pawnbroker does come with some caveats: “We are a short-term lending option” says Tannahill.
“Anyone looking for a loan term of over six months really should explore other options before using a pawnbroker. They should also be sure they will have the means to repay the loan or they will lose their goods” he adds.
To borrow from a pawnbroker you need two forms of ID. If happy with the offer, you can usually walk away with your money in 15 minutes. All pawnbrokers are required to observe the Consumer Credit Act, and there is a legal obligation for the Pawnbroker to write to anyone who defaults on their loan of their intention to sell the goods, giving them 14 days’ notice. “At Suttons and Robertsons we have a much greater than average redemption rate with only around 10-15% of customers defaulting on their loans,” says Tannahill. “People who do redeem their valued items, quite often bring the same things back in the next time they need to borrow money. We are seeing a lot of repeat customers making us more like a bank than ever before…I guess it’s just a sign of the times and we are glad to be able to offer a valued service to our customers during periods of financial difficulty,” added Tannahill.
Suttons and Robertsons has branches in four London locations – Victoria Street, Edgware Road, South Kensington’s Brompton Road, and Fleet Street. For further information visit www.suttonsandrobertsons.com