Consumer credit originated year-to-date through September 30 increased nearly 30 percent to $675 billion from $523 billion during the same timeframe in 2011. Comparatively, credit originations are below the 2006-2007 pre-recession levels of about $1 trillion by an estimated one-third, according to Equifax's latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report.
Balances on consumer credit originated over the past two years represents approximately 32% of outstanding balances, but only comprises slightly less than 6% of total delinquent balances, reflecting better underwriting and more responsible consumer payment behavior. In turn, consumer finance write offs declined more than 53% to $70.9 billion year-to-date through November 2012, after peaking at $151.8 billion during the same timeframe in 2009.
"Consumer spending is being supported by gradually opening credit markets, with higher new limits on accounts, a gradual upward trend in non-mortgage consumer debt outstanding, and also consistently low utilization rates," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "Meanwhile, consumer finance delinquency rates, not including home loans, have returned to pre-recession levels - all signs that the consumer-led recovery is gaining strength heading into 2013."
Total bank credit card limits opened year-to-date through September increased nearly 44 percent from their recession low, from $87.8 billion in 2010 to $132.2 billion in 2012.
New bankcard accounts through September totaled 29 million, the highest for that same time period since 2008 (43.5 million). Write off rates for November 2012 reflected a 20 percent decrease from the same time a year ago.
Meanwhile, total retail credit card limits are at more than $345 billion through November 2012, the highest level in 30 months. Retail credit card originations year-to-date through September 2012 totaled $25.6 million, a four-year high (2009, 23.9 million)
New retail credit card origination credit limits year-to-date through September 2012 totaled $47.5 billion, a more than 17 percent increase from $39.4 billion in 2010.
Auto loans originated year-to-date through September 2012 totaled 16.4 million - an increase of more than 11 percent from same time a year ago and a five-year high. At more than 58 million through November 2012, the total number of outstanding loans is at its highest level in 37 months.
Similarly, auto loan balances continue rising - through November 2012, balances totaled $775.7 billion, a 45-month high. Auto loan amounts originated year-to-date through September 2012 ($318.2
billion) are more than 33 percent higher than the recession low for same time in 2009 ($210.2 billion).