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H&T PLC reports strong demand for pledge loans ahead of Christmas

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H&T Group PLC (AIM:HAT) said trading in the second half of 2021 had been consistently strong and earnings for the year would thus meet market expectations.

Demand for pawnbrokers had now returned to pre-pandemic levels, the pawnbroker added, with November and December being particularly busy.

Lending volumes in December, in particular, were above expectations and at record highs.

As a result, the pledge book at the end of 2021 increased by 39% to £67m, with a 34% increase since June.

Loan-to-value ratios were also maintained, with repayment rates remaining stable, the statement said.

The group had cash balances of £17m as of December 31 and its funding facilities of £35m remain undrawn.

H&T added that it was still working with the FCA, the UK’s financial regulator, on a review of lending processes, creditworthiness and affordability assessments undertaken as part of its short-term lending business. high cost term.

Chris Gillespie, Managing Director of H&T, added: “The group has consistently performed well in the second half of 2021 and I am particularly pleased with the strong demand for our pawnbrokers.

“We have seen higher monthly lending levels in each successive month since May, with a full return in the fourth quarter to pre-pandemic lending volumes and very positive momentum heading into 2022.”

“Loan volumes and retail sales remained strong through the Christmas holidays and continued into January.”

Consensus forecasts call for profits of between £9m and £10.1m in 2021.