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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Slackens, For Now
by Tom Moeller  May 7, 2013

Following many months of double-digit gains, consumer credit growth calmed down in March, according to the Federal Reserve. Nevertheless, the $8.0B monthly rise still left the annual gain close to its strongest since early-2008. The increase surprised expectations for a gain of $15.0B, as measured by Action Economics.

Use of non-revolving credit eased although the $9.7B m/m gain left the y/y increase at 8.4%, its strongest since late-2002. Federal government loans rose nearly one quarter y/y, credit union lending rose 11.6%  y/y, securitized loans increased 10.9% y/y and commercial bank loans gained 3.7% y/y. Borrowing from finance companies was nearly unchanged y/y. Non-revolving credit accounts for roughly two thirds of the credit total. In contrast, consumers remain less inclined to pull out their credit cards. Revolving credit fell $1.7B after a $0.4B February uptick. The y/y increase remained a minimal 0.5%. Savings institution loans rose 11.2% y/y and credit union lending increased 8.2% y/y. Pools of securitized assets rose 6.6% y/y. Commercial bank lending grew 1.4% y/y but borrowing from finance companies fell 12.5% y/y.

The figures used in this report are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. There is a break in the credit outstanding data from November 2010 to December 2010 due to the Fed's benchmarking process. Benchmark estimates are based on the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) conducted in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The consumer credit data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database. 

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA Mar Feb Jan Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total $8.0B $18.6B $12.7B 5.9% 5.8% 3.7% -0.7%
   Revolving -1.7 0.4 1.7 0.5 0.4 0.2 -7.5
   Non-revolving 9.7 18.2 11.0 8.4 8.4 5.5 3.4
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