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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumers Ramp Up Credit Usage
by Tom Moeller  November 7, 2013

Consumer credit outstanding increased by $13.7 billion during September following a $14.2 billion August rise, revised from $13.6 billion. Expectations had been for a $12.0 billion increase, according to the Action Economics survey.

Usage of non-revolving credit jumped $15.8 billion (8.5% y/y) in September. Federal government loans increased 20.0% y/y. These constitute roughly  one-third of total non-revolving credit. Finance company lending (28% of the total) edged up 0.8% y/y and commercial bank consumer loans (24% of the total) gained 5.6% y/y. Borrowing at credit unions (10% of the total) advanced 11.5% y/y and borrowing from savings institutions (1.0% of the total) increased 4.3% y/y.

During all of last quarter, student loan balances rose 8.9% y/y, down from nearly 15.0% growth in 2008. Motor vehicle loans outstanding increased 8.0% y/y, nearly a new high and up from the 7.5% rate of liquidation in 2009.

Revolving credit outstanding slipped $2.1 billion (+0.2% y/y) in September. Commercial bank lending (73% of the total) edged 0.4% y/y higher while savings institution  lending (8% of the total) gained 7.1% y/y. Finance company balances (8% of the total) fell 4.1% y/y while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) gained 7.8% y/y. Nonfinancial business accounts (3% of the total) fell another 19.5% y/y and securitized credit card balances (4% of the total) inched up 0.5%.

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.

(Unmet) Credit Demand of American Households from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total $13.7B $14.2B $10.9B 6.1% 6.1% 4.1% -1.0%
   Revolving -2.1 -0.9 -1.8 0.2 0.4 0.2 -7.5
   Non-revolving 15.8 15.0 12.7 8.5 8.6 5.9 2.7
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