Retail credit company Gem Finance lays off staff in the wake of Covid-19 downturn


Latitude Finance, the parent company of consumer finance company Gem Finance, is set to make some staff redundant.

The company said the redundancies were part of measures to offset the impact of Covid-19.

However, a Latitude spokesman say how many people would lose their jobs.

“Latitude has taken significant action to reduce the impact of Covid-19 and ensure that we remain in a strong position to support our customers and partners through this challenging period,” he said.

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“This includes adapting our strategy and reducing our costs to offset the impact restrictions have had on business activity. Unfortunately, this will result in a small number of redundancies.”

Store closures during level 4 lockdown lead to an 86 per cent drop in applications for credit. (File photo)

Simon O’Connor/Stuff

Store closures during level 4 lockdown lead to an 86 per cent drop in applications for credit. (File photo)

Customers would not be affected and the company hoped to redeploy staff where possible, the spokesman said.

Latitude has 2.6 million customers and is available at nearly 2000 retailers in New Zealand and Australia.

Latitude has more than 500,000 customers in New Zealand, the spokesman said.

In December 2018, Latitude bought short-term credit company Genoapay.

Centrix chief executive Keith McLaughlin says said demand for credit had started to increase as retailers reopened.

SUPPLIED

Centrix chief executive Keith McLaughlin says said demand for credit had started to increase as retailers reopened.

Keith McLaughlin, chief executive of credit reporting company Centrix, said finance companies like Latitude saw a collective drop of 86 per cent in credit applications during the level 4 lockdown.

“Once we moved from level 4 to level 3, demand for credit increased. Then once we moved to level 1, we bounced back to around 90 per cent of what we would view as normal,” McLaughlin said.

But demand for credit varied across the board, he said.

Short-term lending bounced back after the lockdown quicker than some other forms of credit like car loans and mortgages, he said.

“Consumer confidence is very important when it comes to credit demand. If people are confident their job is secure then clearly they feel more confident to engage credit,” McLaughlin said.

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