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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Continues Strong
by Tom Moeller  October 7, 2013

Individuals are feeling confident enough to make continued use of their available credit lines. Consumer credit outstanding rose by $13.6 billion in August, continuing firm at 5.9% y/y. The gain followed an unrevised $10.4 billion July rise although earlier figures were revised higher. Expectations had been for an $11.8 billion increase according to the Action Economics survey.

Usage of non-revolving credit jumped another $14.5 billion (8.2% y/y) in August. Federal government loans increased 20.4% y/y, these constitute about 32% of total non-revolving credit. Finance company lending (28% of the total) edged up 0.4% y/y and commercial bank consumer loans (24% of the total) gained 5.9% y/y. Borrowing at credit unions (10% of the total) advanced 10.0% y/y and borrowing from savings institutions increased 2.9% y/y (1% of the total).

Revolving credit outstanding slipped $0.9 billion (+0.3% y/y) in August. Commercial bank lending (73% of the total) rose 0.2% y/y while savings institution  lending (8% of the total) gained 7.4% y/y. Finance company accounts (8% of the total) fell 3.9% y/y while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) gained 7.7% y/y. Nonfinancial business accounts (3% of the total) continued to fall 19.5% y/y and securitized credit card balances (4% of the total) increased 5.9%.

These Federal Reserve Board figures 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 contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total $13.6B $10.4B $14.3B 5.9% 6.1% 4.1% -1.0%
   Revolving -0.9 -1.8 -3.7 0.3 0.4 0.2 -7.5
   Non-revolving 14.5 12.2 18.1 8.2 8.6 5.9 2.7
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