Consumer credit rises in November buoyed by credit cards

Bolstered by strong growth in revolving credit, which is primarily from credit cards, total consumer credit rose 8.8 percent in November, marking the biggest monthly jump since September 2015.

Revolving credit grew 13.3 percent in November, while non-revolving credit, which is mostly vehicle and education loans, climbed 7.2 percent in the month. This is up from a 6.5 percent in October and a 5.7 percent increase in September.

“Growth was led by revolving credit, which rose to an all-time high and surpassed the previous record set in 2008,” Curt Long, chief economist and vice president of research at the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) wrote in NAFCU’s latest Macro Data Flash report. “Non-revolving credit also had strong growth during the month and reported its largest gains since last October. Consumer credit growth should remain strong due to a solidly performing labor market and high levels of consumer confidence.”

At credit unions, total consumer credit rose 0.6 percent in November, compared to a 1.7 percent increase for banks and no growth for financial companies. In the third quarter, total consumer credit rose 3.2 percent at credit unions, increased 1.8 percent at banks and fell 0.5 percent at financial companies.

“Credit unions’ portfolio of consumer credit was up 11.1 percent over the past year,” Long said. “Credit unions now own 11.1 percent of the market, which is up from 10.5 percent a year ago.”

Banks owned 41.7 percent market in November, up slightly from 12 months ago, while the market share of financial companies’ dropped to 13.8 percent in November from 15.2 percent.