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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Continues to Ebb in August
by Tom Moeller  October 7, 2021

• Nonrevolving credit usage slips.

• Revolving credit growth slows further.

Consumer credit outstanding grew $14.4 billion (4.8% y/y) during August after rising $17.3 billion in July, revised from $17.0 billion. An $18.5 billion August rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The ratio of consumer credit outstanding-to-disposable personal income was fairly steady at 24.0% in August and equaled last year's average.

Nonrevolving credit usage grew $11.4 billion (5.7% y/y) in August, about the same as in July. Federal government borrowing, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew a steady 4.4% y/y. Depository institution loans (25% of credit) grew an accelerated 7.7% y/y, up from 2.7% last year. Finance company borrowing (17.0% of loans) rose 6.3% y/y, quicker than 3.6% in 2020. Credit union loans (15.0% of the total) increased 5.9% y/y, faster than 2.6% last year.

Revolving consumer credit balances increased $3.0 billion (2.1% y/y) in August after rising $5.8 billion in July, revised from $5.6 billion. Credit provided by depository institutions (90% of the total and mostly credit card debt) rose 2.5% y/y versus an 11.0% y/y decline last year. Credit union borrowing rose 1.3% y/y after falling 6.4% last year. The value of finance company loans weakened 11.1% y/y following last year's 21.9% shortfall.

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) Aug Jul Jun Aug y/y 2020 2019 2018
Total ($ bil) 14.4 17.3 38.2 4.8% -0.3% 4.6% 4.5%
   Nonrevolving 11.4 11.5 20.0 5.7 3.6 5.0 4.8
   Revolving 3.0 5.8 18.2 2.1 -11.1 3.6 3.7
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