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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Ramps Up in February, Pre-Coronavirus
by Tom Moeller  April 7, 2020

Consumer credit outstanding increased $22.3 billion (4.5% y/y) during February following an unrevised $12.0 billion January gain. It was the strongest monthly increase since July. A $14.0 billion gain had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage surged $18.1 billion (4.9% y/y) during February, the strongest monthly increase since September 2015. Borrowing from the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew 6.8% y/y. Depository institution loans (25% of credit) gained 5.0% y/y. Finance company borrowing (13.0% of loans) grew 1.1% y/y and credit union borrowing (7.0% of loans) rose 2.9% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances rose $4.2 billion (3.2% y/y) in February after falling $2.5 billion in January. Credit provided by depository institutions, which makes up 90% of revolving balances, grew 3.4% y/y. Credit union borrowing rose 6.1% y/y and finance company loans fell 3.3% y/y.

Student loans grew a reduced 4.7% y/y while motor vehicle loans rose a steady 3.8% y/y.

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) Feb Jan Dec Feb % y/y 2019 2018 2017
Total ($ bil) 22.3 12.0 21.0 4.5 4.5 4.8 5.0
   Nonrevolving 18.1 14.5 9.6 4.9 4.8 5.4 4.9
   Revolving 4.2 -2.5 11.4 3.2 3.8 3.1 5.6
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