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Economy in Brief

Faster Than Expected U.S. Consumer Credit Growth
by Gerald D. Cohen  June 7, 2019

Consumer credit outstanding increased $17.49 billion (5.1% year-on-year) to $4.070 trillion in April, following an upwardly revised $11.0 bil. in March (was $10.3 bil,). A $12.3 billion gain had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage grew $10.53 billion (5.6% y/y) during April, down from $13.0 bil. in March. Borrowing from the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew 7.3% y/y. Depository institutions (25% of credit) gained 5.0% y/y. Meanwhile finance company balances edged up 0.1% y/y and credit union loans jumped 11.6% y/y. Each of these sectors provide roughly 15% of nonrevolving credit.

Revolving consumer credit balances grew $6.95 billion (3.9% y/y) in April, after falling $2.0 billion in March. Credit provided by depository institutions, which makes up 90% of revolving balances, grew 5.3% y/y. Borrowing from credit unions (6% of the issuance) was up 8.3% y/y.

During Q1'19, student loan debt increased 4.9% y/y, a slowdown from the 5.3% rate in Q4'18. Motor vehicle financing grew 3.9% y/y, the fastest pace since mid-2017.

These Federal Reserve Board figures are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. The breaks in the series in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are the result of the incorporation of the Census and Survey of Finance Companies, as well as changes in the seasonal adjustment methodology.

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) Apr Mar Feb Apr y/y 2018 2017 2016
Total $17.49 bil. $11.05 bil. $15.47 bil. 5.1 4.7 5.0 6.8
   Nonrevolving 10.53 13.02 12.30 5.6 5.3 4.8 6.9
   Revolving 6.95 -1.99 3.19 3.9 3.1 5.6 6.8
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