The ripple effect of default payments on digital lenders

Digital lending platforms have emerged as financial industry game-changers, revolutionizing the way people access credit. These platforms offer unprecedented convenience and accessibility, helping make loans available at the click of a button.

However, as with any innovation, there are potential pitfalls that could have far-reaching consequences. One pressing issue faced by digital lenders is the negative impact of default payments.

A rise in delinquencies is happening across many loan types as consumer demand continues to stay strong despite rising prices. Currently, 2.1% of people who own a credit card are behind on their payments, and it’s predicted this number will rise to 2.6% by the end of 2023. Delinquencies on unsecured personal loans will likely increase to 4.3%.¹

Default payment impacts on digital lenders

Although default payments could affect any financial institution, digital lending platforms face unique challenges due to their distinct infrastructure.

Liquidity crunch: At the foundation of lending is having the available capital to lend to borrowers who then consistently make their loan payments. Default payments disrupt this balance. Funds that should have been reinvested in new loans are now unavailable, potentially stunting growth.

Erosion of capacity providers’ confidence: Many digital lenders attract funding from capacity providers who expect consistent returns. Losses from default payments may lead to a dip in capacity providers’ confidence – potentially impacting valuation and future funding prospects.

Impact on interest rates and loan terms: To offset losses from default payments, lenders may need to raise interest rates, reduce the availability of certain loan products or impose stricter eligibility criteria, making it challenging for people to obtain loans.

Operational challenges: Processing default payments requires time and effort. Resources that could have been devoted to improving user experience or developing better risk assessment may need to be allocated to manage the fallout from defaulting borrowers.

Financial strain on borrowers: Of course, defaulting on a loan could have serious consequences for borrowers. It may damage their credit scores and lead to increased stress, financial strain and potential legal actions. The initial relief from quick and simple borrowing could quickly turn into a heavy burden.

Restrain the ripple effect

While the negative impact of default payments is undeniable, digital lenders can take the following steps to help mitigate these challenges.

  • Loan payment solutions: Incorporate loan payment protection as a component of the loan to help protect both borrowers and lenders from the risk of default.
  • Flexible payment plans: Provide payment options or make special arrangements to help consumers who are experiencing financial hardship.
  • Effective risk management: Implement robust risk management practices to help identify and address potential default risks early on.
  • Financial education: Empower consumers with financial literacy programs to help prevent defaults caused by lack of financial knowledge.
  • Proactive communication: Establish open lines of communication with consumers facing financial difficulties to explore viable solutions before defaults occur.
  • Diversified loan portfolio: Maintain a diverse range of loan products to distribute risk across various sectors and help reduce overreliance on a single loan type.

TruStage™ Payment Guard Insurance

TruStage Payment Guard is an embedded insurance solution built for digital lenders, designed to help attract more borrowers and protect against unexpected covered losses that could lead to borrower defaults. Loan payment insurance is in high demand with our fluctuating economic performance.

With Payment Guard, new eligible loans are protected against covered losses due to unexpected job loss or disability. Programs are customizable to a consumer’s budget and supported by TruStage’s digital claims experience team.

As the industry continues to mature, it is crucial for digital lenders to find innovative ways to help manage default rates effectively.

¹TransUnion, More Pronounced Changes Expected in Consumer Credit Market in 2023 Even as More Than Half of Americans Remain Optimistic About Their Financial Future, 2022, December 14.

TruStageTM Payment Guard Insurance is underwritten by CUMIS Specialty Insurance Company, Inc.  CUMIS Specialty Insurance Company, our excess and surplus lines carrier, underwrites coverages that are not available in the admitted market. Product and features may vary and not be available in all states.  Certain eligibility requirements, conditions, and exclusions may apply.  Please refer to the Group Policy for a full explanation of the terms. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold or guaranteed by any financial institution. Corporate Headquarters 5910 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705. 

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