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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Accelerates During November
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2021

• Nonrevolving usage picks up.

• Credit card balances continue to fall.

Consumer credit outstanding increased $15.3 billion during November (0.3% y/y) following a $4.5 billion October rise, revised from $7.2 billion. A $9.0 billion increase had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage jumped $16.1 billion (4.0% y/y) following a $10.0 billion September gain, revised from $12.7 billion. Federal government borrowing, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew 5.0% y/y. Depository institution loans (29% of credit) grew a greatly lessened 2.5% y/y, down from 6.8% y/y growth as of December 2019. Finance company borrowing (16.0% of loans) firmed 4.3% y/y and credit union loans (14.0% of the total) increased 4.2% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances eased $0.8 billion (-10.0% y/y) following unrevised $5.5 billion October decline. It was the eighth decline in the last nine months, which included double-digit balance pay-downs this spring. Credit provided by depository institutions (90% of the total and mostly credit card debt), dropped 10.0% y/y. Credit union borrowing fell 4.8% y/y and finance company loans fell roughly one-quarter 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) Nov Oct Sep Nov y/y 2019 2018 2017
Total ($ bil) 15.3 4.5 15.0 0.3% 4.6% 4.8% 5.3%
   Nonrevolving 16.1 10.0 12.5 4.0 4.9 5.2 5.1
   Revolving -0.8 -5.5 2.6 -10.0 3.8 3.6 6.0
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