As the economic crisis wears on, the asset-rich but cash-poor middle and upper classes are turning to putting up their high-end possessions for short-term loans, sparking a wave of 'posh' pawnbroking.
With the heady days of easy credit long gone with the financial crisis, people are turning to the age-old industry of pawnbrokers. The process is the same as it has always been – put up their possessions as a collateral for a short-term loan with the idea of getting them back once the loan is paid off. But in the world of posh pawnbroking it's luxury watches, boats, fine art and fine wine that are being offered up.
Borro is one of the new breed of private lending company operating in the U.K. and U.S. that offers personal asset loans "for people who have more wealth in assets than in the bank". Among the items the company has handled are jewellery and diamonds, precious metals, luxury cars and antiques.
Founded almost five years ago by chief executive Paul Aitken, the company has no mention of "pawnbroking" on its international website -- reflecting an attempt by high-end lenders to move away from the commonly held image of dusty, dingy shops.