According to the latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report, non-mortgage credit balances in November 2014 totaled $3.1 trillion, the highest level in more than five years.
In addition, the total balance of non-mortgage write-offs year to date for November 2014 was $73.4 billion, the second-lowest level in eight years. Similarly, the total balance of home-finance write-offs year-to-date in November was $91.2 billion, also the second-lowest level in eight years.
“The Great Deleveraging has clearly ended and U.S. Consumers are back in the borrowing business, but how they borrow is greatly changed from prior to the Great Recession,” said Amy Crews Cutts, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Equifax. “Today, while auto loans make up 30.9% of non-mortgage consumer debt just as they did in December 2007 at the Recession’s start, student loans have grown from 20.2% to a whopping 37.3% and bank- and retailer-issued credit cards are down to 21.9% of consumer debt from 31.4%.”
Other highlights from the most recent Equifax report include:
- The total number of outstanding auto loans year-to-date in November was more than 70.0 million, the highest level in more than five-years;
- The total number of new retail card accounts issued January-September was 28.5 million, a year-over-year increase of 2.5% and the highest since 2007;
- The total balance of new credit originated in that same time was $48.1 billion, a six-year high and an increase of 3.4%;
- Delinquent first mortgages, those 30 or more days past due, represented 4.54% of outstanding balances in November, a decrease from 5.87% from the same time a year ago;
- The total balance of seriously delinquent first mortgages (90-days past due or in foreclosure) was $198.8 billion in November, a decrease of more than 29.8% year-over-year and the lowest level in more than five years.
“One way to read this change is that consumers now value investment (in their education and durable goods like cars) over immediate consumption, which is good for our economy over the long run,” Cutts contined. “But, with the exception of new car production, sluggish consumption slows economic growth in the near short term, partially explaining the slower-than-hoped-for economic recovery.”