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: The figures in all charts are current as of the final month of each quarter. However, each quarter’s current figures for foreclosures and credit scores are backward-looking, reflecting debt repayment experience over several previous years.
Data source: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York/Equifax Consumer Credit Panel.


Last Updated August 25 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 77 percent of files. Debt is most common in the District’s upper-income tracts, at about 83 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 62 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. As of June 2015, debt usage in the District and the nation was down slightly from a year earlier, continuing 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 as of June 2015. 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 59 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 as of June 2015 was nearly even with that of a year earlier, a sign that the general downward trend of 2008–2013 has ended. Nationally, the percentage of files with bank card debt rose a bit in the year ending in June 2015, but the national figures remain somewhat lower than 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.

The prevalence of student debt in the District fell slightly between June 2014 and June 2015 and has changed little, on net, since June of 2011, overall and in all tract-income categories. Nationally, the overall percentage of credit files with student debt has increased only slightly, on net, since June 2011 and was down slightly in the year ending in June 2015. Student debt remains more prevalent in the District than in the nation, especially in low-income tracts, where about 25 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.

Despite some deceleration of growth in the first half of 2015, the prevalence of auto loans in the District was up again in the year ending June 2015. This year-over-year growth in the prevalence of auto debt occurred at the fastest rate in the District’s low-income tracts, where about 20 percent of consumers now have auto loans (compared to about 30 percent in the District overall). The prevalence of auto debt has recently risen somewhat faster in the nation than in the District, resulting in very similar national and District rates of usage as of June 2015.

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 to a peak of about $27,000 (in 2015 dollars) in late 2008 and then declined to about $25,000 from 2011 on. 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. Over the year ending in June 2015, total debt per borrower again changed very little overall in the District, but this reflected a balance of divergent trends. Over that time period, total debt per borrower rose almost 5 percent in the District’s low-income neighborhoods, fell almost 3 percent in the District’s high-income neighborhoods, and changed by small amounts elsewhere. The national figures are a few thousand dollars lower than their District counterparts but, from June 2014 to June 2015, also changed little overall while declining in upper-income neighborhoods and rising in low-income neighborhoods.

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.

As of June 2015, the District’s overall median mortgage balance was almost $77,800, up less than 1 percent (adjusted for inflation) from a year earlier. This continues a recent trend: overall and in each of the District’s tract-income categories, inflation-adjusted median mortgage balances bottomed out in 2012–2013 and have since been rising slowly. 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. Note, however, that the income categories are relative to local norms, and the dollar amount of income in the District’s low-income tracts is generally higher than in low-income tracts elsewhere.

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.

Within each year, median bank card balances generally follow a seasonal pattern: they tend to rise toward the end of the year, during the holiday shopping season, and then tend to be paid down early in the following year. Since 2012, mid-year median bank card balances have changed little in the District, overall and in each tract-income category. However, in the 12 months ending in June 2015, median bank card balances rose slightly except in the District’s low-income tracts, where they fell by about 2 percent. Over the same period, median bank card debt grew somewhat faster nationally than in the District but was also weakest (with near zero growth) in the nation’s low-income tracts.

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.

After dipping in 2013, median inflation-adjusted student loan balances have grown at a moderate pace. The overall median balance owed by District student debtors was about $14,000 as of June 2015, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier but only 0.7 percent higher than in June 2013. Growth was fastest in the District’s moderate-income tracts, where the inflation-adjusted median balance grew 4.4 percent between June 2014 and June 2015.

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 tracts (about $15,000) and moderate-income tracts (about $14,700) exceeds that in middle-income tracts (about $13,400). However, as in the nation, the District’s highest median student loan balances (about $15,500) 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.

Adjusted for inflation, median District auto debt continues to expand, rising by close to 2.5 percent overall, from about $8,500 in June 2014 to about $8,700 in June 2015. Over this period, median auto debt balances were up in each tract-income category, led by a 3.9 percent rise in moderate-income tracts. Since mid-2010, the District’s 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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