February 09, 2015

CUs outperform banks in 4Q consumer credit

Credit unions expanded their consumer credit 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, outperforming both banks and financial companies, NAFCU Director of Research and Chief Economist Curt Long said after analyzing data published by the Federal Reserve Monday.

For the month of December, total consumer credit increased an annualized 5.4 percent. Total consumer credit for credit unions increased 0.2 percent during that month as consumers took advantage of low interest rates, Long said.

Non-revolving credit, which is mostly motor vehicle and education loans, increased at an annual rate of 4.4 percent, while revolving credit, which is primarily credit cards, increased 7.9 percent in December.

"Non-revolving credit remained solid as consumers took advantage of low interest rates to purchase vehicles and as young adults pursued higher education," said Long. The Federal Reserve data also showed that revolving credit growth rebounded from November but still revealed that consumers are refraining from taking on excessive credit card debt.

November's total consumer credit was at 4.9 percent and saw a 5.8 percent increase in October (seasonally adjusted annual rates).

"As the labor market continues to strengthen, upward pressure on wages could increase consumers' willingness to take on credit card debt," Long said. For more, see NAFCU's Macro Data Flash report.