About European Consumer Debt Collection and Debt Purchase Market Insight Report 2021
What is the focus of the report?
This report focuses on the European consumer debt collection and debt purchase markets.
Consumer debt collection involves the recovery of money that is owned by individuals to businesses, including:
– Banks and non-bank finance companies providing consumer credit
– Utilities companies
– Telecoms companies
– Goods and services providers
Debt purchase involves firms buying portfolios of consumer debts from businesses.
– The debt purchaser buy the rights to the future revenue from loans, including the right to collect them.
– The purchaser may collect the debts itself (often through a separate group business) or may appoint a third-party debt collection firm to act on its behalf.
The report quantifies the market size and trends while reviewing key factors behind these figures and exploring drivers of growth and profitability.
The leading European debt purchase and collection groups are profiled and their performance is compared.
What does it contain?
Definition of the European debt purchase and collection market
Analysis of the types of debts purchased and how purchases take place
Estimate of market size 2020 based on our analysis of market drivers, market-specific factors and financials of the debt purchase groups
Views on the outlook for the market.
Analysis of the positioning and performance of the leading European debt collection agencies and debt purchase groups
Profiles of the leading groups
The market in which European debt purchase / collection groups operate overlaps significantly with that of large private equity investors. Key differences are that debt purchasers:
– Are more likely to be skewed towards unsecured vs secured debts and consumer /SME vs larger corporate
– Service some / all debts in-house while the large funds work with partners
– Typically expect to hold the debt for a longer period (5-10 year outlook vs 2 years for funds).
– Are more likely to seek payment arrangements than litigate
Purchasing strategy varies by country however, in most markets other than the UK, the debt purchase / collection groups purchase some secured and SME / corporate debts alongside unsecured consumer portfolios
Utility/telecom debts are frequently purchased with some groups, such as Lowell in the UK, targeting this area. These are typically high volume / low average value portfolios.
Supply of debts has increased significantly across Europe as a result of the major programme of NPL sales supported by the ECB and governments to aid potentially insolvent banks in cleaning up their balance sheets
– Italy has had the biggest value of large NPL sales, both in 2020 and since 2014.
– Spanish banks have also been major sellers along with those in the UK and Ireland
– French banks have been notable for their low level of sales
The largest buyers of large NPL portfolios have been investment / private equity firms but big debt purchase / collection groups such as Intrum and Axactor have also participated
The European Parliament and Council are currently debating new legislative proposals for a Directive on Credit Services and Credit Purchases. This is expected to lead towards a single market for debt purchase and collection and to encourage arrangements rather than litigation
Technological innovation is a top priority for market participants. It is focused on creating pan-European platforms and enabling self-service operation, to reduce costs
Based on top-down and bottom-up methodologies we estimate that the European debt purchase market as measured by the total book value of purchased debt approached €25bn in 2020.
– The UK, which has the largest consumer credit sector in Europe, is the largest market by some margin, followed by five other substantial markets – Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Germany.
– These six account for around 70% of the total.
Market size is a function of size of the consumer credit sector as well as a range of other factors which our model takes into account, such as:
– Non-performing percentage – which is highest in Greece and other southern and eastern European markets
– Behaviour of banks: particularly important in Germany where around half of consumer lending is carried out by local savings and co-operative banks which tend not to outsource either collection or ownership of consumer debts
– Ease with which debts can be collected via litigation, meaning there is much less need to make payment arrangements in markets such as Austria and the Nordics
– Court processes – which are notably complex in Italy, making some debts uneconomic to collect.
Performance of the leading groups and interview evidence show the market was growing rapidly prior to the pandemic, at double-digit rates. Our market interviews found that growth is expected to resume.
The leaders in the European debt purchase market are the eleven large European debt purchase / collection groups with operations across multiple countries and a combined book value of over €18bn
– These leading groups include Arrow Global, Axactor, B2 Holding, Encore / Cabot, EOS, Hoist, Kruk, Intrum, Link and GFKL Lowell
– There are also smaller operators who focus on single-countries or a couple of adjacent countries.
The market has consolidated significantly through acquisition, as the main purchase groups have entered new markets by acquiring collection platforms
Performance varies across a range of metrics, largely reflecting market focus, business models and the extent to which technology is used to automate processes.
Who Is the report intended for?
Debt collections agencies and debt purchasers,
Sellers and outsourcers of debt,
Investors in the industry,
Market analysts and consultants
Other parties with interests in the market.
What are the sources and methodology?
This report is based on
– Publicly available data including company annual reports, websites, press releases and government statistics
– Interviews with a range of senior-level contacts in the market
– In-depth analysis of the macroeconomic environment and other relevant market drivers
Information from these sources has been synthesised and presented clearly and concisely with extensive use of charts and tables to illuminate points and support conclusions
Which companies are covered in the debt collection / debt purchase market report?
The report includes profiles of the following companies:
– Arrow Global
– B2 Holding
– Encore Capital (Cabot)
– EOS Europe
– Hoist Finance
– Intrum Group
– Link (LCM) Europe
– GFKL Lowell