January 12, 2021

Consumer credit rises in November; NAFCU expects flat growth in coming months

Data FlashTotal consumer credit rose 4.4 percent in November (seasonally-adjusted, annualized), up 0.4 percent versus a year ago. NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long analyzed the latest numbers in a new NAFCU Macro Data Flash report.

"Revolving credit contracted once again and has now fallen in eight of the last nine months," said Long. "Nonrevolving credit is almost back to its pre-pandemic level, as interest rates remain at all-time lows and consumers shift spending to big-ticket items.

"Lenders have tightened standards through the pandemic and that trend looks unlikely to reverse as the latest Senior Loan Officer Survey showed only 4.4 percent of banks eased standards on credit cards and only 3.8 percent eased standards on auto loans," Long added. “NAFCU expects flat growth in consumer credit for several months, followed by a slow recovery into summer.”

Total consumer credit for credit unions rose 0.2 percent over the month, representing a 3 percent rise from a year earlier. 

Over the past 12 months, credit unions’ share of the market has risen 0.3 percentage points to 11.9 percent. Meanwhile, banks’ share fell 2 percentage points to 40 percent, and financial companies’ share has risen 0.3 percentage points to 13.3 percent.