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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Surges in November
by Tom Moeller  January 7, 2022

• Revolving credit growth explodes.

• Nonrevolving credit usage picks up.

Consumer credit outstanding strengthened a record $40.0 billion (5.8% y/y) during November following a $16.0 billion October gain, revised from $16.9 billion. An $18.8 billion November rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The ratio of consumer credit outstanding-to-disposable personal income rose to 24.3% in November, the highest level since March 2020.

Revolving consumer credit balances increased $19.8 billion (6.1% y/y) in November after falling 11.1% in 2020. Credit provided by depository institutions (90% of the total and mostly credit card debt) rose 7.0% y/y versus an 11.0% decline in 2020. Credit union borrowing (6% of the total) rose 4.1% y/y after falling 6.4% in 2020. The value of finance company loans (2% of loans) declined 12.9% y/y following a 21.9% shortfall in 2020.

Nonrevolving credit usage grew $20.1 billion (5.6% y/y) in November following a 3.6% rise in 2020. Federal government borrowing, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew a steady 4.1% y/y. Depository institution loans (26% of credit) grew an accelerated 8.6% y/y, up from 2.7% in 2020. Finance company borrowing (17.0% of loans) rose 5.9% y/y, quicker than the 3.6% growth in 2020. Credit union loans (14.0% of the total) increased 5.3% y/y, double the 2020 increase.

The value of student loans rose 2.7% y/y as of Q3:21 versus 3.4% growth in 2020. The value of motor vehicle loans increased 6.7% y/y in Q3:21 after rising 3.4% in 2020.

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 2020 2019 2018
Total ($ bil) 40.0 16.0 26.0 5.8% -0.3% 4.6% 4.5%
   Revolving 19.8 6.6 9.8 6.1 -11.1 3.6 3.7
   Nonrevolving 20.1 9.4 16.2 5.6 3.6 5.0 4.8
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