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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Grows at a Record Rate
by Tom Moeller  November 9, 2015

Consumer credit outstanding surged $28.9 billion (7.1% y/y) during September following an unrevised $16.0 billion August rise. It was the largest increase in postwar history and lifted y/y growth to 7.1%. Expectations were for a $17.2 billion gain in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. 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.

Nonrevolving credit borrowing in gained $22.2 billion (8.0% y/y). Federal government loans (35.5% of the total) increased 12.9% y/y. Finance company balances (25% of the total) improved 2.6% y/y. Borrowing at banks (also 25% of the total) rose 5.7% y/y and borrowing at credit unions (11% of the total) advanced 14.9% y/y. Nonprofit & educational institution loans (2% of the total) declined 12.0% y/y, and nonfinancial business loans (1% of the total) remained unchanged y/y.

Revolving consumer credit surged $6.7 billion (4.7% y/y). Depository institution balances (82% of the total) increased 6.2% y/y. Finance company lending (6.5% of the total) declined 6.5% y/y and borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) improved 6.8% y/y. Nonfinancial business credit (3% of the total) inched 0.2% higher y/y but securitized credit card balances (3% of the total) fell 1.0% 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) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total $28.9 bil. $16.0 bil. $19.5 bil. 7.1% 7.0% 6.0% 6.1%
   Revolving 6.7 4.0 4.2 4.7 3.7 1.4 0.6
   Nonrevolving 22.2 12.0 15.3 8.0 8.3 7.9 8.5
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