Americans borrowing at break neck pace as credit card delinquencies rise, says Fed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 2:29am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 2:31am

American households increased their borrowing over the past year at the fastest pace of the US economic expansion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Consumer debt levels rose 4.5 per cent in the year through June to US$12.84 trillion, data published on Tuesday by the New York Fed showed. Mortgage borrowings were up 3.9 per cent, while credit-card balances increased 7.5 per cent. Both marked the fastest rate of increase since 2008. Auto and student loan debt levels also rose.

The percentage of balances that became 30 or more days delinquent in the second quarter of 2017 ticked up for each of the four debt categories. Credit-card debt saw the largest percentage increase in transitions to delinquency to 6.2 per cent, from 5.1 per cent a year earlier.

“While relatively low, credit-card delinquency flows climbed notably over the past year,” Andrew Haughwout, a senior vice-president at the New York Fed, said in a press release.

Americans looking at US$13 trillion consumer debt burden which is becoming too heavy

“This is occurring within the context of loosening lending standards, as borrowers with lower credit scores recover their ability to access credit cards,” he said. “The current state of credit card delinquency flows can be an early indicator of future trends and we will closely monitor the degree to which this uptick is predictive of further consumer distress.”