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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Eases
by Tom Moeller  March 9, 2015

Consumer credit outstanding gained $11.6 billion during January after a $17.9 billion rise in December, initially reported as $14.8 billion. Expectations were for a $15.0 billion increase, according to the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 52% correlation between the y/y growth in consumer credit and the y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Usage of non-revolving credit rose an easier $12.7 after an $11.7 billion increase. Federal government loans increased 14.6% y/y. These constitute roughly one-third of total non-revolving credit. Finance company lending (27% of the total) improved 2.0% y/y. Bank borrowing (26% of the total) rose 5.8% y/y and borrowing at credit unions (10% of the total) advanced 14.9% y/y. Nonprofit & educational institution loans (3% of the total) declined 10.3% y/y. Nonfinancial business loans (1% of the total) remained unchanged y/y.

Revolving consumer credit declined $1.2 billion following a $6.2 billion rise. Commercial bank & savings institution lending (81% of the total) increased 5.1% y/y. Finance company balances (8% of the total) declined 9.7% y/y while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) gained 7.2% y/y. Nonfinancial business accounts (3% of the total) were off 5.4% y/y and securitized credit card balances (4% of the total) fell 8.1% y/y.

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) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total $11.6 bil. $17.9 bil. $14.4 bil. 6.9% 7.1% 6.0% 6.1%
   Revolving -1.2 6.2 -0.5 3.2 3.7 1.3 0.6
   Nonrevolving 12.7 11.7 15.0 8.3 8.3 7.9 8.5
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