2021 AFSA Independents Conference: Building the New Normal Panel Q&A

July 30, 2021 by Kim Le

As lenders and consumers emerge from the pandemic, predicting the attributes of the “new normal” will be difficult. Consumer demand, credit characteristics and economic conditions have all been affected by the pandemic – changing the way we think about doing business. Regulators and legislators have also developed new priorities and expectations for financial institutions.

Clint Ivester, Experian’s Solutions Consultant and VP of Sales, joined Lee Gilley and Jonathan Kkolodziej, Partners for Bradley, to share their observations from the past year at AFSA’s 2021 Independents Conference. They also discussed recommendations financial institutions should consider to achieve the best possible posture with respect to compliance and business readiness.

Here are a few Q&A highlights:

Q: How are stimulus packages and increased government spending affecting economic conditions?

A: [Ivester]: Our Experian forecast shows that the economy will grow 6% in 2021. That is well above the 2.5% average we have seen over the last four decades and highest rate since 1983. While the economy is oriented toward growth, how strong that growth is going to be will really depend on how well things go when the “training wheels” are taken off, how robust the recovery is for lower-income workers, and how consumer spending habits have been altered by the pandemic.
*Data sources include Bureau of Economic Analysis and Experian’s “COVID-19 Economics Scenarios” April 2021 Report

Q: How should businesses be assessing future consumer demand, conditions, and broader economic conditions over the next few quarters?

A: [Ivester]: To answer this question, we should consider some factors including unemployment. What happens with lower income workers will have a big impact on where consumer spending goes post-stimulus. While the overall economy is set for solid growth there are still 8 million people out of work with the vast majority being lower income workers. Employment for lower income workers is still down more than 20%.

These workers are set to lose the most by the phase out of the federal pandemic unemployment programs and are the highest risk to lose all unemployment benefits. However, if we see a strong jobs recovery – as is very possible – in bars, restaurants, hotels and other industries, these individuals will return to more normal spending habits and consumer spending should remain robust.
*Data source includes Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker

Watch the full session to hear more about the discussion.

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