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Debt collectors are trying to get at least some money from them — albeit less than before.
In 2022, the average payment of Russians on debts fell to a three-year low, NAPCA calculated. Market participants attribute this to the crisis and the change in the policy of creditors and debt collectors, who have become more loyal to debtors.
In 2022, the average debt payment amount was at the lowest level since 2019 — 3.7 thousand rubles, was calculated by the National Association of Professional Collection Agencies (NAPCA) at the request of RBC. In annual terms, the indicator fell immediately by 18.4%, although before that it had been growing for three years. We are talking about the debt of individuals on loans, which collectors collect in the interests of banks under an agency scheme. According to the association, in January-October 2022, the volume of this market amounted to 605 billion rubles, data for the year is not yet available.
The deterioration of borrowers’ payment discipline coincided with the peak of the crisis in the spring of last year, it follows from the statistics of NAPCA (RBC has it). In February, the average payment in the agency segment fell by 2.5% compared to January, in March — by 13.5%, and in April — by another 0.2%, to a minimum level for the year of 3.2 thousand rubles. After that, the indicator recovered — up to 3.9 thousand rubles in December.
In the cession segment — debt collection that collectors bought from major creditors — the average payment also fell, but not so significantly: by 1.3% in annual terms, to 4.1 thousand rubles. on average per year.
NAPCA associates the negative dynamics with the crisis, as well as with a change in the policy of creditors and debt collectors: they have become more loyal to debtors and allow customers to pay smaller amounts instead of skipping a payment. The market strategy is aimed at maintaining the fact of making a payment by reducing it, the association explained.
The crisis phenomena of 2022 are still the main reason for the deterioration in the solvency of debtors, NAPCA President Elman Mehtiev believes: “During crisis periods, Russians reduce expenses, which is reflected in the average payment. In addition, it is clear that the payment of overdue debt for the majority is not a primary item of expenditure, especially if there are existing loans that are prioritized.
A more noticeable decrease in the average payment on debts processed under the agency scheme, Mehtiev connects with the fact that the terms of collection are set by banks — in contrast to the cession, when the collection agency, as a new creditor, can itself determine the amount of the monthly installment for debtors. “As a rule, it is already minimal from the very beginning, therefore it is not as subject to volatility as it is under an agency agreement, where the terms are indicated by the bank,” explains the president of NAPCA.
The foreign policy and the economic situation have become a significant trigger for reducing the amount of the average payment, agrees the general director of the «M.B.A. Finance» Fedor Vahata. “The departure of major western players from the Russian market, the loss of jobs, the policy of limiting the issuance of loans — all this has also significantly affected collection rates, but as business activity recovers, the situation with debt payments will also change,” he explains.
Vahata considers the decline in the average debt payment to be a «temporary phenomenon.» According to him, the figure corrected upward by the end of last year. NAPCA statistics confirm this.
“The downward trend in the average payment will continue in 2023 due to changes in the legislation for certain categories of citizens,” says Evgenia Utkina, deputy general director of ABK collection agency. In autumn, the Ministry of Economic Development proposed expanding access to the simplified bankruptcy procedure without trial for pensioners, recipients of social benefits, as well as for citizens whose debts have been forcibly collected for more than seven years.
RBC sent inquiries to large banks. A VTB representative said that in the banking settlement segment, it does not see any trends in reducing the average payment amount. Rosbank also said that it did not record a downward trend in the average payment last year in the case of internal collection. Other credit institutions did not respond to inquiries.
The decrease in the average payment in favor of debt collectors may also be due to the fact that creditor banks transfer «more small debts to professional debt collectors, leaving large checks for internal collection,» Evgeny Senkovsky, director of Rosbank’s overdue debt department, believes. Small checks carry more costs (for example, SMS information or telephone communication), and in addition, lenders are increasingly using a model approach to assess the quality of the delay, giving fewer solvent debtors under agency agreements to debt collectors, he explains.
The decrease in the average payment negatively affects the fees of debt collection agencies, Vahata admits. But, according to him, this effect can be leveled if creditor banks transfer more debts to debt collectors under the agency-based service agreement. “A lot depends on the credit policy in the country and on the volume of loans issued. Now we are clearly seeing a decrease in the volumes transferred from banks, <...> and, conversely, transfers from the MFO sector, whose risk policy is softer and more flexible, are growing,” adds RBC’s interlocutor.