Australians still appear to be struggling for extra credit as they seek new ways to bump up their disposable incomes. There has been a series of economic conditions which appear to have impacted heavily on the average wallet, from falling house prices to tightening lending from major banks in the face of the Royal Commission inquiry.
With many no longer finding the ability to get the same access lines to credit that they had previously, many are going down more unregulated routes as they look to cover outgoings without falling behind on payments.
As negative equity increases as house prices drop, it means many more can no longer rely on the asset value of their house being something they can use to generate extra liquidity, and as the major lenders carry on squeezing things to balance out their own profit sheets, the capital has to come from somewhere.
That somewhere tends to be payday loans and other forms of risky credit access when the going gets tough, and this time appears to be no different.
A collection of spiraling debt woes are not helping matters, as inflation rises above the cost of living and what was normally being set aside to cover the necessary basics. With wage growth also being stunted, the economy is in somewhat of a tailwind that is as much to do with the global economic picture as it is elsewhere.
The ongoing trade tariffs between the U.S. and China have been regularly labeled as one of the main reasons the Australian economy is struggling, because it relies on trade routes and exports to both sides of the dispute. That leaves it in a tricky position unless the country can develop more ways to become self-sufficient and less reliant on exports that go through impacted supply chains.
Australia has a record high income-to-debt ratio in households right now, and as the banks begin to contract in growth following the Hayne inquiry, no fixes are expected to occur overnight.
One of the problems seems to be that although the inquiry rapped the banks for their irresponsible lending practices, it did not necessarily cut out the reason these are being needed in the first place, and a sign of a much healthier economy would be households being able to survive without these riskier credit lines in the first place.
This means that even if the problem is tackled head-on with the banks, it does not stop people from going elsewhere, and that is exactly what is happening. However, in a sector which is less regulated, and with less information available on who is doing what, the problem could get worse as people find themselves in even more unsustainable debt patterns.
There is also a worry that developing technology has progressed further than regulation in terms of people having new ways to access this kind of credit. There are now online tools and apps that can enable same-day applications for the likes of car loans and up to $5,000 worth of credit.
As Martin North, a data scientist and banking analyst at Digital Finance Analytics said, such tools were not available a few years ago, and such mechanisms tend to have ‘much more flexibility to flog other products, often without much visibility.’ It appears it may be out of the frying pan and into the fire, as far as the economy is concerned in the long run.