Press Release
New York Fed's Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit Shows Continued Signs of Healing in Consumer Credit Markets
August 15, 2011

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released its Household Debt and Credit Report for the second quarter of 2011. Consistent with last quarter's findings, the report shows continued signs of healing in the consumer credit markets. The data show evidence of a modest increase in the willingness of consumers to borrow and banks to lend.

Among the results:

  • Balances on most loan types fell, but by very small amounts
    • Mortgage and home equity lines of credit both fell by $20 billion
    • Consumers' non-real estate indebtedness fell by $10 billion (0.4 percent) and now stands at $2.28 trillion, 9.5 percent below its fourth quarter 2008 peak
  • Credit card limits increased for the second consecutive quarter—by $60 billion or about two percent
  • Account openings and closings continued their trends from the end of 2010
    • The number of open mortgage accounts held roughly steady again in the second quarter
    • Open credit card accounts jumped by 10 million, to 389 million
    • Credit inquiries within the last six months—an indicator of consumer demand for new credit—bounced back in the quarter after having fallen slightly in the first quarter
  • Delinquency rates and transitions continued their recent improvement
    • Both delinquent and seriously delinquent balances remain 15 percent below year-ago levels
  • New foreclosures fell again, bankruptcies rose as they tend to do in the second quarter
    • Both are well below their peak and year-ago levels. For example, new foreclosure notations were down 22.8 percent from the first quarter; new bankruptcies were down 23.8 percent from the second quarter of 2010

"Outstanding consumer debt remained essentially flat, down just $50 billion, in what was basically a repeat of the previous quarter. This is more evidence that the pace of consumer deleveraging that began in late 2008 has slowed," said Andrew Haughwout, vice president in the Research and Statistics Group at the New York Fed. "During the next few quarters we will gain a better understanding of whether this is a permanent or temporary break in the decline of total outstanding consumer debt."

About the New York Fed's Quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report
The New York Fed's Quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report is aimed at helping community groups, small businesses, state and local government agencies and the public to better understand, monitor and respond to trends in borrowing and indebtedness at the household level. The household debt and credit report is updated quarterly and includes such categories as the number of bankruptcies, per capita debt levels, total debt levels and composition of debt, new originations of installment loans, total balance by delinquency status, foreclosures and new delinquencies by loan type for the U.S. and select states. The report is based on data from the New York Fed's Consumer Credit Panel, which represents a nationally representative random sample drawn from Equifax credit report data. Sections of the report are presented as interactive graphs on the New York Fed's Credit Conditions web page and the full report is available for download. The next quarterly reports are expected to be released in November, 2011; February, 2012; May, 2012.

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