Consumer Credit Conditions in the Ninth District

To enhance understanding of consumer credit conditions in the Ninth Federal Reserve District and nationwide, we offer visual representations of credit usage and credit quality on the tabs below. Note: For each point in time shown, the charts for foreclosures and credit scores reflect debt repayment experience over several previous years. The remaining charts reflect credit usage or delinquent debt as of the final month of each quarter.
Data source: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York/Equifax Consumer Credit Panel.


Last Updated February 23 2015

Figure 1: Percent of Consumers with Debt (All Types)

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

“MFI” in the figures at left stands for median family income, which is defined in our Data Overview.

Most credit files show outstanding debt of some kind. In the District, this is true for about 78 percent of files. Debt is most common in the District’s upper-income tracts, at about 84 percent of files. This presumably reflects a higher homeownership rate and greater capacity to repay debt among residents there. However, even in the District’s low-income tracts, about 63 percent of files show some kind of debt outstanding. Overall and in all tract-income categories, the percentage of files with debt is a few percentage points higher in the District than in the nation. Debt usage in the District at the end of 2014 was down slightly from a year earlier, although usage in the District’s middle- and upper-income tracts was nearly stable after the first quarter. It is too early to say if this marks an end to the pattern of mostly declining usage since 2008.

Figure 2: Percent of Consumers with Mortgage Debt

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

For many adults, mortgages are the largest debt owed. Overall, however, only about 32 percent of District credit files have mortgage debt outstanding. The percent of files with mortgage debt ranges from about 40 in the District’s upper-income tracts to about 13 in the District’s low-income tracts. Overall and in all tract-income groups, the prevalence of mortgage debt is a few percentage points higher in the District than in the nation and has slowly declined since 2008.

Figure 3: Percent of Consumers with Bank Card Debt

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

Balances due on bank-issued, general purpose credit cards are the most common form of debt shown in consumer credit files. As of the second quarter of 2014, about 60 percent of District files included these obligations. The figures are higher in upper-income tracts, where about 68 percent of District adults had bank card debt. However, even in low-income tracts, about 40 percent of District files showed balances owed on bank-issued credit cards. Across all income categories in the District, the prevalence of bank card debt at the end of 2014 was even with or up slightly from that of a year earlier. This is similar to the pattern during 2012 and is a break from the general downward trend since 2008. The percentage of files with bank card debt is a few percentage points lower nationally, as compared to in the District.

Figure 4: Percent of Consumers with Student Debt

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

On net in 2014, for only the second time since 2005, the prevalence of student debt in the District did not increase. In fact, in the fourth quarter it was down slightly from a year earlier, overall and in all but the District’s upper-income tracts, where usage was essentially unchanged. Student debt remains more prevalent in the District than in the nation, especially in low-income tracts, where about 26 percent of District credit files include student debt. The District’s higher prevalence of student debt, including in low-income tracts, partly reflects the area’s relatively high percentage of college-educated adults.

Figure 5: Percent of Consumers with Auto Debt

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

For the fourth straight year, District auto lending picked up in 2014. Previously centered in upper- and middle-income tracts, the expansion in auto lending accelerated in the District’s low-income tracts in 2014, where nearly 20 percent of consumers now have auto loans (compared to nearly 30 percent in the District overall). Since 2011, the prevalence of auto debt in the District has risen from below to above the corresponding national figure, which may reflect a somewhat stronger economic recovery in the District than in the nation.

Figure 6: Median Balance of Total Debt per Borrower

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

Adjusted for inflation, overall total debt per District borrower trended up in 2005–2008, reaching about $27,000 (in 2014 dollars) in late 2008. It then slipped to less than $25,000 in 2011–2012. The pattern was somewhat different in the District’s low-income tracts, where inflation-adjusted median balances didn’t peak until late 2012, due in part to rising student debt. Since the end of 2012, however, median debt per District borrower has changed little or declined slightly in all tract-income categories. The national figures show similar trends but are a few thousand dollars lower than their District counterparts.

Figure 7: Median Balance of Mortgage Debt per Borrower

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

The District’s median mortgage balance at the end of 2014 was almost $78,000. Median mortgage balances rose less than 1 percent (adjusted for inflation) from a year earlier, both overall and in each tract-income category. Overall and in the District’s middle- and upper-income tracts, where the bulk of District mortgages are located, inflation-adjusted median mortgage balances have changed little for an even longer period, since late 2007. By contrast, these balances have declined significantly since late 2007 in the District’s moderate-income and (especially) low-income tracts. Median mortgage debt per mortgagor is lower in the District than in the nation, overall and in middle- and upper-income tracts. The reverse is true in low-income tracts, and there is little difference in moderate-income tracts.

Figure 8: Median Balance of Bank Card Debt per Borrower

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

Balances owed on bank-issued, general purpose credit cards are the most widespread form of debt reported in consumer credit files, but the amount owed is typically small, under $2,000 for most who use this form of credit. Median balances for bank card borrowers are higher nationally than in the District.

Median bank card balances generally follow a seasonal pattern, building up during the year-end shopping season and then getting paid down early in the following year. However, for the first time since 2011, the District’s median bank card balance in the fourth quarter of 2014 was up significantly (adjusted for inflation) from its level a year earlier, both overall and in each tract-income category.

Figure 9: Median Balance of Student Debt per Borrower

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

The median balance owed by District student debtors was about $13,600 in the fourth quarter of 2014, not much different from a year earlier or in late 2012. This is the most sustained period of stable student loan balances since at least 2005, nationally as well as in the District. However, the District’s moderate-income tracts deviated from the overall pattern, with a 3.6 percent rise in inflation-adjusted median balances between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2014.

Nationally, median student debt balances rise with tract income. This is not true in the Ninth District, where the current median student loan balance in low-income and moderate-income tracts (almost $14,300) exceeds that in middle-income tracts (about $13,100). However, as in the nation, the District’s highest median student loan balances (about $15,000) are in upper-income tracts.

Figure 10: Median Balance of Auto Loan per Borrower

For the Ninth District (dark lines) and Nationwide (light lines)

Tradelines with balances charged off due to nonpayment within the last 7 years are included in these data, to the extent that lenders continue to report them.

For the fourth year in a row, median District auto debt in the fourth quarter, adjusted for inflation, was up from a year earlier. This was true overall and in each tract-income category, although the 5.7 percent pace of growth in low-income tracts over the past year was especially brisk. The overall median approached $8,700. Since mid-2010, median auto debt has correlated in an obvious way with tract income: higher income is associated with higher debt. Throughout the period shown, median auto debt per borrower has been somewhat higher in the nation than in the Ninth District.

Data Overview

For more information about the data and methodologies used here and additional resources related to consumer credit data, see our Data Overview.


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