Frustrated that banks are no longer lending, UK entrepreneurs are turning to the new breed of posh pawnbrokers for loans. “In exchange for my car keys the pawnbroker transferred the cash to my bank account the same day,” one business owner commented, “It’s now in storage until I repay the loan, which suits me fine as I’ve got another car to drive in the meantime.”
The National Pawnbrokers Association reported a 15% growth in business last year, half of which was down to more middle-class individuals and small businesses using their services. The pawnbroker is emerging as the high-street lender of choice for the asset-rich middle classes caught between recession and banks’ unwillingness to lend. With the success of television shows like Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn, pawnbrokers are definitely in the public eye here in the States. Could the trend of ‘posh pawnbrokers’ make its way across the pond?