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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Moderates in October
by Tom Moeller  December 7, 2021

• Nonrevolving credit usage picks up y/y.

• Revolving credit growth strengthens after 2020 decline.

Consumer credit outstanding increased $16.9 billion (5.2% y/y) during October after rising $27.8 billion in September, revised from $29.9 billion. A $22.5 billion October rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The ratio of consumer credit outstanding-to-disposable personal income held steady at 24.2% in October, the highest level since March 2020.

Nonrevolving credit usage grew $10.3 billion (5.6% y/y) in October. Federal government borrowing, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew a steady 4.3% y/y. Depository institution loans (26% of credit) grew an accelerated 8.2% y/y, up from 2.7% last year. Finance company borrowing (17.0% of loans) rose 6.0% y/y, quicker than the 3.6% growth in 2020. Credit union loans (14.0% of the total) increased 5.0% y/y, faster than 2.6% last year.

Revolving consumer credit balances increased $6.6 billion (4.0% y/y) in October. Credit provided by depository institutions (90% of the total and mostly credit card debt) rose 4.7% y/y versus an 11.0% y/y decline last year. Credit union borrowing (6% of the total) rose 2.1% y/y after falling 6.4% last year. The value of finance company loans (2% of loans) declined 12.5% 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) Oct Sep Aug Oct y/y 2020 2019 2018
Total ($ bil) 16.9 27.8 13.4 5.2% -0.3% 4.6% 4.5%
   Nonrevolving 10.3 18.1 10.3 5.6 3.6 5.0 4.8
   Revolving 6.6 9.8 3.2 4.0 -11.1 3.6 3.7
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