CU consumer credit accelerates in Jan.

March 6, 2015

WASHINGTON (3/9/15)--Despite total outstanding consumer credit decelerating nationwide, overall outstanding credit for credit unions accelerated in January, posting a $2.3 billion increase compared with the previous month's $1.1 billion climb.

The gains for credit unions were driven entirely by nonrevolving credit--or credit tied to big-ticket items such as homes or vehicles--as revolving credit, associated with credit card use, declined to $45.8 billion outstanding from $46.4 billion, according to the Federal Reserve's consumer credit report, released Friday.

Nonrevolving credit at credit unions advanced by $2.9 billion in January after slightly falling the previous month.  

"Consumer credit balance growth continues to be driven by the nonrevolving segment," said Andrew Davis, Moody's analyst ( March 6). "Consumers are feeling more confident in the recovery thanks to the strong string of monthly employment gains and house prices that are trending in the right direction.

"In turn, consumers are taking advantage of extremely low interest rates and easier access to credit to finance big-ticket items such as vehicles and education."

Across all lenders, total consumer credit balances climbed by $11.6 billion in January, slowing from the $17.9 billion jump seen the prior month.

On a year-over-year basis, credit balances fell 6.9% in January, slightly higher than the 7.1% annual drop seen in December.

Mirroring the trend seen at credit unions, overall revolving credit balances dropped by $1.2 billion after a $6.2 billion surge the prior month, while nonrevolving credit balances rose $12.7 billion after a $11.7 billion increase in December.