Maps in search of clients - Finance - Kommersant

In 2022, the credit card segment performed better than other consumer lending segments. Against the backdrop of tougher scoring and a simultaneous deterioration in the financial situation of Russians, credit cards satisfied part of the demand for cash loans. However, banks in this segment also prefer to work only with high-quality borrowers, squeezing some of their clients into the MFO segment. In 2023, the credit card market will continue to grow, but at a slower pace. The segment will be pressured by the unstable economic situation and the expansion of new financial product offerings.

The credit card segment was the only one in the consumer lending market that showed growth in share in 2022. At the end of 9 months In 2022, it reached 18.1% against 15.5% in all of 2021, follows from a study by Frank RG. The portfolio of cards at the end of the year is estimated at 2.37 trillion rubles. This is 18.7% more than in 2021. In Rosbank, the portfolio of credit cards increased by 32% at the end of the year (excluding overdraft). The growth in credit card issuance at the end of the year was also recorded in FC Otkritie Bank - an increase of 21%. At VTB, the card segment grew faster than other credit products, amounting to 9%.

At the same time, the level of overdue over 90 days, according to Frank RG, has changed little - in 2021, the indicator was 12.5%, in 2022 it increased by only 0.7 p.p. up to 13.2%. The segment managed to maintain such a low level of delinquency due to “squeezing” the most risky clients into the MFO segment. And there, the delay at the end of the year increased by 13 p.p. up to 43% with a portfolio of 431 billion rubles.

Against this backdrop, competition between banks for quality customers has become tougher, Frank RG experts point out. One of the main ways was the cost of servicing a credit card and the length of the grace period. So, in 2021, only 26.5% of credit cards offered on the market were free of charge. In 2022, the share of free cards was already 65.6%. The average grace period for credit cards has also increased markedly - 111 days in 2022 compared to 91 days in 2021.

Against the background of improved conditions for cards, the demand for the product was also growing on the part of borrowers. In 2022, borrowers' interest in card products grew by 10-40%, depending on the lender and its business model.

According to the results of the year, 47-48 million credit cards were in circulation. The annual increase was 20%, estimates the CEO of the Unicom ecosystem Dmitry Afrikanov. In 2023, the penetration of credit cards will continue against the backdrop of flexible and interesting loyalty programs that banks will offer to consumers, the expert is sure. In 2023, the growth of the segment may accelerate and exceed 20%, Valery Piven, head of the financial institutions rating group at ACRA, expects. Banks may soften the terms of loans, however, the restrictions imposed by the Bank of Russia will restrain the growth of the portfolio in the most risky segments.

An increase in delinquency on credit cards is also possible in 2023, says Yury Belikov, managing director of the Expert RA rating agency. “Retail borrowers entered the unfavorable phase of the economic cycle with an increased level of debt load, the growth of which was due to the lending boom in 2020-2021. Further growth of the portfolio throughout 2022 could not take place without the generation of significant potential for deferred stress. As a result of its implementation, not only will there be a delay, but the issuance will also slow down,” he notes. According to Mr. Belikov, in addition to their own adjustment of risk appetite, banks now have to reckon with the regulator's macroprudential limits, "aimed at preventing an even more disproportionate increase in the debt burden of the most indebted borrowers." It is likely that this will be accompanied by further migration of some borrowers to the microfinance segment, if not to the "gray" segment of the market, Mr. Belikov fears.

The banks themselves look at the credit card segment with optimism, although they stipulate that much will depend on the economic situation. Natalya Zubenko, head of the credit card center at Rosbank, stressed that “criteria for issuing credit cards today are at the pre-crisis level, the bank will make a decision on their adjustment depending on the development of the market situation.” In 2023, growth will continue, but at a more restrained pace, according to VTB. At the same time, “credit cards will be partially replaced by bank installment programs, which will result in a redistribution of their share,” the bank is sure. The rapidly growing BNPL market can also compete with the segment, Frank RG adds.

Polina Trifonova

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