U.S. consumer borrowing rose in September by the largest amount in two years, thanks to a surge in non-revolving credit such as college loans and auto financing.
Credit rose $2.1 billion after a revised $4.9 billion drop in August, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Student borrowing picked up when the school year began, but Americans are still concerned about using credit cards. Unemployment near 10%, limited income growth and more home foreclosures are restraining consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy.
Non-revolving debt jumped $10.4 billion in September. Federal government non-revolving loans, such as those for student loans, increased an unadjusted $27 billion in September. Auto sales in September increased to a seasonally adjusted 11.73 million annual rate, according to industry statistics. Ford Motor Co., the second largest automaker, reported a 41% increase in car and truck sales for the month.
Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, dropped $8.3 billion in September, the most since December 2009, according to the Fed.
Past-due credit card payments declined in the second quarter to the lowest level since 2001. Card delinquencies fell to 3.62% from 3.88%, according to figures last month from the American Bankers Association (ABA) in Washington. Overall consumer loan delinquencies in the second quarter increased for the first time in four quarters as the U.S. economy's struggles continue, according to ABA.
The ABA’s quarterly report uses data from banks on loans 30 days or more past due and covers eight categories, including auto loans, credit cards and home-equity loans.
The amount of bad credit card loans written off as uncollectible in the U.S. fell to 8.9% at an annualized rate in September, according to Moody’s data service.