UK lenders tighten eligibility criteria amid cost of living crunch, Experian says

Illustration shows a smartphone with displayed Experian logo

By Sinchita Mitra

(Reuters) -Britain’s lenders are tightening eligibility criteria amid rising interest rates and a cost of living crisis, but demand for borrowing remains elevated, credit data firm Experian said on Tuesday.

Experian’s key customers include banks, non-traditional lenders and insurance providers, which use its credit reports and scores to analyse and make decisions around credit risk, fraud prevention and lending terms.

The company, which reported on Tuesday a 7% rise in revenue at constant exchange rates for October-December 2022, its third quarter, said lenders are tightening their eligibility criteria as the cost-of-living crunch raises the risk of borrowers struggling with their debts.

Experian saw organic revenue at its consumer services unit decline by 8% in UK & Ireland in the third quarter after the “mini-budget” led to a rise in borrowing costs in October, but said the impact was for a short term.

“(Lenders) They want to continue to lend and they were able to do that once the mini budget was in the rear view mirror,” Chief Communications Officer Nadia Ridout-Jamieson told Reuters.

Ridout-Jamieson said Experian was seeing more demand for its analytics-driven data as lenders look to monitor the finances of potential and existing customers.

Shares in Experian were down 1.1% as of 0930 GMT. They have fallen 19% since the start of 2022.

Experian posted a 6% rise in total organic revenue at constant exchange rates for the three months ended Dec. 31, fuelled by robust demand for its consumer and business information business in North America, its biggest market.

Experian posted a 5% increase in its organic revenue from North America, while it continued to flag a fall in demand for mortgage credit.

(Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Susan Fenton)