February 22, 2024

Credit Card Debt, Late Auto Loan Payments Increasing

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Below is a press release from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York regarding the latest data on credit card debt and auto loan payment delinquencies across the country.

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. The report shows total household debt increased by $212 billion (1.2%) in the fourth quarter of 2023, to The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s nationally representative Consumer Credit Panel.

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying Liberty Street Economics blog post examining the composition of auto loan balances and performance by age and income. The Quarterly Report also includes a one-page summary of key takeaways and their supporting data points.

“Credit card and auto loan transitions into delinquency are still rising above pre-pandemic levels,” said Wilbert van der Klaauw, economic research advisor at the New York Fed. “This signals increased financial stress, especially among younger and lower-income households.”

Mortgage balances rose by $112 billion from the previous quarter and stood at $12.25 trillion at the end of December. Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) increased by $11 billion, the seventh consecutive quarterly increase after Q1 2022, and now stand at $360 billion. Credit card balances increased by $50 billion to $1.13 trillion. Auto loan balances rose by $12 billion, continuing the upward trajectory seen since 2020, and now stand at $1.61 trillion.

Mortgage originations continued at a similar pace as seen in the previous two quarters, and now stand at $394 billion. Aggregate limits on credit card accounts increased modestly by $74 billion, representing a 1.6% increase from the previous quarter. Limits on HELOC grew by $24 billion and have grown by 10% over the past two years, after 10 years of observed declines.

Aggregate delinquency rates increased in Q4 2023, with 3.1% of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency at the end of December. Delinquency transition rates increased for all debt types, except for student loans. Annualized, approximately 8.5% of credit card balances and 7.7% of auto loans transitioned into delinquency. Delinquency transition rates for mortgages increased by 0.2 percentage points yet remain low by historic standards. Serious credit card delinquencies increased across all age groups, notably with younger borrowers surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

About the Report

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report provides unique data and insight into the credit conditions and activity of U.S. consumers. Based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data, the report provides a quarterly snapshot of household trends in borrowing and indebtedness, including data about mortgages, student loans, credit cards, auto loans and delinquencies. The report aims to help community groups, small businesses, state and local governments and the public to better understand, monitor, and respond to trends in borrowing and indebtedness at the household level. Sections of the report are presented as interactive graphs on the New York Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report web page and the full report is available for download.

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