The total limit of new credit for bank-issued credit cards led origination growth in January, followed by home equity revolving lines and auto lending, according to the latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report.
Changes in the total balance of credit originated in January compared to the year-ago period include:
- Bank-issued credit cards: 28.5% increase ($19.5
billion from $15.2 billion);
- Home equity revolving: 18.4% increase ($7.3 billion from $6.2 billion);
- Auto: 19.8% increase ($34.3 billion from $28.6 billion).
Other highlights from the Equifax data include information on bank-issued credit card:
- The total number of loans outstanding in March 2014 is more than 320
million, the highest since September 2009;
- The total aggregate credit limit for bank cards in March 2014
is more than $2.5 trillion, a 55-month high;
- From March 2013-2014, write offs as a percentage of total balances
decreased 13.2% (from 4.77% to 4.14%); and
- The total number of new cards issued in January 2014 is 3.7 million, a
six-year high and an increase of 18.6% from same time a year ago.
"Spring is here and consumers' desire for credit appears to be rising alongside the mercury," said Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. "Despite the relatively low numbers of new and used vehicles sold in January, auto originations were up nearly 20 percent from the same time last year.
"This suggests that consumers are responding positively to the generous terms and greater credit availability in the auto space. Credit card and Home Equity Revolving Lines of Credit originations were also up sharply over the previous year, further signaling that not only are consumers interested in credit, but that banks are more willing to offer it."