Highlights from the Tenth District Consumer Credit Report

December 21, 2017
By Daniel Perez


Delinquency measures and seasonal trends in consumer debt are two topics covered in the latest Tenth District Consumer Credit Report. This biannual report uses the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax to examine long-term trends and recent developments in consumer credit in the Tenth District and the United States.  

Changes in Consumer Debt Levels

Average consumer debt is on the rise. Both District and national consumer debt, defined as all outstanding debt other than first mortgages, rose moderately at 0.6 percent from the first quarter ($17,239) to the third quarter of 2017 ($17,346). Within the Tenth District, debt totals ranged from a low of $16,119 in Oklahoma to a high of $19,135 in Colorado. Debt varies between regions due to a number of factors, such as local economic conditions, income, cost of living, regulations and consumer culture. 

Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, retail cards and home equity lines of credit, is expected to rise in the fourth quarter of 2017. From 2001 to 2016, revolving debt grew at an average rate of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, mostly due to holiday shopping. Fourth quarter increases typically are offset by a decline in revolving debt in the first quarter of the following year. From 2001 to 2016, revolving debt fell an average of 1.3 percent in the first quarter.

Delinquency Rates

Delinquency rates rose across all types of debt (Chart 4 from the report, shown below). The Tenth District delinquency rate for any account, calculated as the share of consumers with at least one past-due account, rose slightly from 17 percent in the first quarter of 2017 to 17.2 percent in the third quarter. Mortgage delinquencies rose sharply from 4.3 percent to 4.8 percent in this period. This increase was mostly attributed to higher delinquency rates of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans. FHA loans are made mostly to customers with lower incomes and smaller down payments. Additional data is needed to determine if this is related to economic factors or a return to historical averages after years of low delinquency rates. 

Chart 4: Consumer Credit Delinquency Rates and Bankruptcy Filings

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Notes: At least 30 days past due. These figures represent the share of consumers with a past due account, and may not be comparable to previous reports. *"Any Account" may include accounts not otherwise reported in the chart. †Student loan delinquency includes all student loan debt, including those in deferment and forbearance. Student loan data reported here were calculated using a different CCP/Equifax sample than other data in this report. ‡Mortgage delinquency is the current rate and not a moving average and includes both first and secondary liens. (Source: Author's calculations using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax; the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; and Lender Processing Services, Inc. (McDash Analytics))

This report examined three different measures of delinquency and the appropriate use of each:

  • The share of balances past-due: Appropriate for studying the financial impact on the banking industry and systemic risk.
  • The share of borrowers with past due accounts: Appropriate for studying the credit status of individual consumers.
  • The share of past-due accounts: Appropriate for studying industries where a consumer can have more than one open account (such as auto loans and bank cards).

For more information on consumer credit, including an in-depth look at mortgage debt and revolving credit, view the complete report here