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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Pulls Back
by Carol Stone  September 8, 2015

Consumer credit outstanding increased $19.1 billion during July after rising $27.0 billion in June, which was revised noticeably from $20.7 billion reported before. July expectations were for an $18.0 billion increase, according to the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Both revolving and nonrevolving credit contributed to the slower July result. During the last ten years, there has been a 47% correlation between the y/y growth in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Revolving consumer credit rose $4.3 billion in July (3.9% y/y), following June's upwardly revised $7.5 billion gain. Depository institution balances (82% of the total) increased 5.4% y/y. Finance company lending (6.5% of the total) declined 7.1% y/y and borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) gained 6.2% y/y. Nonfinancial business credit (3% of the total) was up 0.2% y/y and securitized credit card balances (3% of the total) fell 0.9% y/y.

Nonrevolving credit borrowing in July was $14.8 billion (7.9% y/y), less than June's $19.5 billion. Federal government loans, 35.5% of the total, increased 13.4% y/y. Finance company balances (25% of the total) improved 2.2% y/y. Borrowing at banks (also 25% of the total) rose 4.6% y/y and borrowing at credit unions (11% of the total) advanced 15.3% y/y. Nonprofit & educational institution loans (2% of the total) declined 11.9% y/y, and nonfinancial business loans (1% of the total) remained unchanged y/y.

The upward revision to June's borrowing was reflected in second quarter results for student loan balances, which were up 7.2% y/y instead of 6.7% y/y reported before and borrowing for motor vehicle purchases was mildly stronger, up 8.6% versus the earlier 8.3% 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) Jul Jun May Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total $19.1 bil. $27.0 bil. $19.7 bil. 6.8% 7.0% 6.0% 6.1%
   Revolving 4.3 7.5 2.5 3.9 3.7 1.4 0.6
   Nonrevolving 14.8 19.5 7.2 7.9 8.3 7.9 8.5
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