Consumer Credit Creeps Higher as Credit Card Use Drops

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The Federal Reserve on Friday released its preliminary report on consumer credit for the month of January 2015. Consumer credit rose 4.2% in January, well below the 6.5% growth posted in December and the lowest since November 2013.

Revolving credit fell 1.6% year-over-year in January and non-revolving credit rose 6.3%. Total revolving credit outstanding at the end of January was $887.9 billion; non-revolving credit totaled $2.44 trillion. Revolving credit comprises primarily credit card balances and non-revolving credit includes motor vehicle loans, student loans, among others, and may be secured or unsecured. Mortgage debt is not included in the report.

The largest holder of consumer debt is the federal government which holds about $870 billion in debt, including certain types of student loans. Banks hold more than $710 billion in revolving debt and around $615 billion in non-revolving debt. Finance companies and credit unions are also large holders of non-revolving debt, with January totals of about $622 billion and $260 billion, respectively.

Credit card issuers Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover were already trading lower Friday afternoon and did not strongly in either direction once the Fed issued the report.

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