WASHINGTON (2/9/15)--U.S. consumer credit balances outstanding increased by 6.9% in 2014--the largest annual increase since 2006 according to numbers released by the Federal Reserve Friday.
Credit union increases were even more impressive--reflected in a 13.8% jump in the year. That's the largest annual increase since 1994--when credit union consumer credit increased by 17.7%.
Consumer credit tracked by the Federal Reserve includes credit extended to individuals for household, family and other personal expenditures, excluding loans secured by real estate. Total consumer credit tracked by the Fed includes two major types: nonrevolving and revolving credit. Nonrevolving credit (mostly car loans and student loans) accounts for 73% of total consumer credit while revolving credit (both unsecured and secured) accounts for 27% of the total.
"If you look at the data, on the whole, 2014 figures tell us that credit unions are playing an active and incredibly important role in making credit available to consumers" said Perc Pineda, CUNA senior economist. "And the monthly December data also makes this abundantly clear."
Nationally, nonrevolving consumer credit balances were up at an annualized rate of 2.8% in December. Credit union nonrevolving balances declined by 2.8% (annualized) in the month. However, for the year, nonrevolving balances increased 8.2% nationally in 2014, while credit union nonrevolving balances were up 15.1%.
Nationally, revolving credit grew by an annualized 40.8% in December as holiday shoppers did their best to spread good cheer. Credit unions nearly matched that with a 40.1% annualized increase.
In the year, revolving balances were up 3.5% nationally but 6.9% amongst the nation's credit unions.
"Despite this month's reading, revolving credit balances are growing at a tepid pace," said Andrew Davis, Moody's analyst (Economy.com Feb. 6). "Sustained growth in revolving balances will not be achieved until wage growth meaningfully accelerates."