Q3 2021 Consumer Credit

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In the third quarter of 2021, non-real estate-secured consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate by 5.6%, with revolving debt1 increasing by 7.4% and nonrevolving debt2 increasing by 5.1%. Consumer credit totaled $4.4 trillion on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, with $1 trillion comprised of revolving debt and $3.4 trillion in nonrevolving debt. This outstanding level marks a total increase of $60 billion from the second quarter, with revolving credit increasing by $18 billion and non-revolving credit increasing by $42 billion.

The newly released data also included an even split of upward and downward revisions of recent, prior quarters of consumer credit. As shown in the figure below, the latest flows to consumer credit were still positive in both categories.

With a new quarter’s worth of data, the latest G.19 report also featured new entries for the current levels of outstanding Student Loan debt and Motor Vehicle Loan debt, which were $1.8 trillion and $1.3 trillion, respectively, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. With many Americans now operating on a hybrid work model, the increase in motor vehicle loan debt strikes an interesting chord with results from NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index (pertaining to Q1 2021) that showed home building expanding most in regions with the fastest commute times.

The non-seasonally adjusted data show that holdings of revolving credit (e.g., credit card debt) at finance companies continued their downward trajectory, a historical trend that began during and after the Great Recession of ’08-’09. Meanwhile, holdings at depository institutions, of which commercial banks are a part, remained steady relative to prior months.

 


Notes:

  1. Revolving credit plans are largely composed of credit card debt but also include home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). These may be unsecured or secured by collateral and allow a consumer to borrow up to a prearranged limit and repay the debt in one or more installments. The G.19 Consumer Credit report excludes HELOCS and home equity loans, as they are secured by real estate.
  2. Nonrevolving credit is closed-end credit extended to consumers that is repaid on a prearranged repayment schedule and may be secured or unsecured.


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