Pawnbrokers in the past were unregulated and could to some extent manage their own rules and regulations. However, since 1974 the industry has been regulated by the Consumer Credit Act alongside banks and other financial institutions. This has given the industry much needed credibility, allowing businesses to appeal to a much wider audience than before. This combined with the credit boom of the eighties is really at the heart of the beginning of this story.
Riding It Out
But it is not only in strong economic circumstances that the pawnbrokers boom. Despite the recent recession (and in many cases because of it) pawnbrokers have been able to see out the recent financial turmoil that has seen many businesses fold under financial pressures. Rising prices of gold combined with an increase in cash-poor customers has seen pawnbroking businesses flourish with The National Association of Pawnbrokers reporting an eight percent increase in industry between 2012-2013.
It was back in 2012 that the UK’s largest pawnbrokers, H&T Pawnbrokers, decided that they were going to target more wealthy patrons. The group started buying shops in more up market areas and also trained the staff to spot and be proficient in valuing expensive watches such as Rolex and other designer names. It is not only H&T who are cashing in on wealthy patrons in need of short term loans. A recent channel four documentary entitled Posh Pawn, goes behind the scenes at a pawnbrokers who only deal exclusively with the rich and wealthy. From million dollar diamond rings to helicopters, these businessmen have seen it all and made a tidy profit of it too. From rich to poor, with such a wide market and a never ending demand it looks likely that this is one industry that will be around for many years to come.