Press Release
Household Debt Continues Upward Climb While Student Loan Delinquencies Worsen
February 17, 2015

In its Q4 2014 Household Debt and Credit Report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that outstanding household debt increased $117 billion from the third quarter. The one percent increase puts total household indebtedness at $11.83 trillion as of December 31, 2014. Total debt has gone up $306 billion since the fourth quarter of 2013. The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.    

Balances were largely up across the board, led by mortgages ($39 billion) and student loans ($31 billion). Auto loan debt and credit card debt increased by $21 billion and $20 billion, respectively. Outstanding student loan balances now stand at $1.16 trillion.  

While overall delinquency rates were unchanged at 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, delinquency rates for auto loans and student loans worsened. Our Liberty Street Economics blog post provides a further discussion of the delinquency picture.

“Although we’ve seen an overall improvement in delinquency rates since the Great Recession, the increasing trend in student loan balances and delinquencies is concerning,” said Donghoon Lee, research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “Student loan delinquencies and repayment problems appear to be reducing borrowers’ ability to form their own households.”  

Other findings from the report include:

  • Mortgage originations, which are measured as appearances of new mortgage balances and also include refinanced mortgages, increased to $355 billion, but remain low by historical standards.
  • The number of credit inquiries within six months—an indicator of consumer credit demand—increased by 4 million from the previous quarter, to 175 million.

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q4 2014:

Category Quarterly Change* Annual Change** Total as of Q4 2014
Mortgage Debt (+) $39 billion (+) $121 billion $8.17 trillion
Student Loan Debt (+) $31 billion (+) $77 billion $1.16 trillion
Auto Loan Debt (+) $21 billion (+) $92 billion $955 billion
Credit Card Debt (+) $20 billion (+) $17 billion $700 billion
HELOC (-) $2 billion (-) $19 billion $510 billion
Total Debt (+) $117 billion (+) $306 billion $11.83 trillion
*Change from Q3 2014 to Q4 2014
**Change from Q4 2013 to Q4 2014  
90+ day delinquency rates:


Category Q4 2014 Q3 2014
Mortgages 3.1 % 3.2 %
Student Loans 11.3% 11.1%
Auto Loans 3.5% 3.1%
Credit Cards 7.3% 7.5%
HELOC 3.2% 3.3%
All 4.3% 4.3%

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