Bayport’s New Unsecured Loans at 21-Month Low in South Africa

Bayport Financial Services Pty Ltd., a South African provider of unsecured credit, sold the fewest new loans in 21 months as it tightened the lending criteria for customers after the market expanded.

The company granted 12,266 new loans in December, the least since April 2011, the company said in a statement today on its website. About 193 million rand ($21.6 million) in loans were made, down from 235 million rand in November, it said.

The value of consumer loans not backed by assets surged 39 percent in the year through September to 140 billion rand, according to the Johannesburg-based National Credit Regulator. The loans accounted for 10 percent of consumer credit at the end of September. Johannesburg-based Transaction Capital Ltd., which controls Bayport, cut its approval rate to less than 10 percent as it targeted less-risky customers, Chief Financial Officer David Hurwitz said.

“It’s deliberate, but it’s not a recent reaction to market conditions,” Hurwitz said by phone from Johannesburg today. “We have consistently, for an extended period of time, been cautious.”