June 09, 2014

Credit cards drove April consumer credit growth

June 10, 2014 – A surge in credit card usage caused consumer credit growth to rise in April, resulting in an increase overall of 10.3 percent in consumer credit for the month.

NAFCU Research Assistant Doug Christman analyzed data from the Federal Reserve for a Macro Data Flash:

"Non-revolving credit [mostly motor vehicle and education loans] remained solid as consumers took advantage of low interest rates to purchase vehicles and as young adults pursued higher education," Christman wrote. "Non-revolving credit is expected to continue to drive overall consumer credit growth. Revolving credit [primarily credit cards], which is generally more volatile than non-revolving credit, increased a remarkable 12.3 percent."

He also found that total consumer credit growth was higher at credit unions during the first quarter 2014 than at banks and financial companies – expanding by 1.6 percent while the latter decreased by 2 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.

In addition to outperforming banks and financial companies overall in the first quarter, credit unions also saw the largest increase in April with 1.9 percent, compared to 1.3 percent and 0.3 percent for banks and financial companies.

Credit unions' share of the total consumer credit market was 8.8 percent in April. Banks held 40.3 percent and financial companies held 21.5 percent.