Payment Card News

Gathering Steam

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Following a sluggish January revolving credit picked up steam in February with a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 8.8%. According to February consumer credit figures released by the Federal Reserve, overall consumer credit is growing at an annual rate of 7.8% compared to 5.7% rate for last February. While revolving credit is strong it remains below last year’s pace. For February 1997 revolving credit was growing 9.4% annually. At the end of February American consumers were $1.244 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

G.19                                                        CONSUMER CREDIT                        For release at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time)
1                                                            February 1998                                                April 7, 1998

Consumer credit outstanding rose at a 7 percent seasonally adjusted rate in February, following a 4-1/2 percent gain in January.
Revolving and "other" consumer credit both increased at a faster pace in February, while growth of automobile credit slowed.

CONSUMER CREDIT OUTSTANDING 1
Seasonally adjusted
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                                                                         1997                                                1998
                                _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________

                                 Feb.    Mar.    Apr.     May    June    July    Aug.    Sept.  Oct. r  Nov. r  Dec. r  Jan. r  Feb. p
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Percent change at annual rate 2
  Total                             5.7     1.9     9.0     3.3     2.2     4.3     6.1     2.2     9.3    -5.7     3.8     4.5     6.9
   Automobile                       1.2    -3.6    11.9     2.7     7.1    10.3    -0.3     9.1    12.4    -5.2    19.6     6.6     3.8
   Revolving                        9.4     0.5     6.9     4.6     4.2     9.4     8.0     6.2    10.0    -2.1     2.3     4.6     8.8
   Other 3                          5.3    11.9     8.6     1.9    -7.9   -12.9    11.4   -14.3     3.5   -12.8   -15.6     1.1     7.8

Amount: billions of dollars
  Total                         1,195.4 1,197.3 1,206.2 1,209.5 1,211.7 1,216.1 1,222.2 1,224.5 1,233.9 1,228.0 1,232.0 1,236.6 1,243.6
   Automobile                     393.8   392.6   396.5   397.5   399.8   403.2   403.2   406.2   410.4   408.6   415.3   417.6   418.9
   Revolving                      509.3   509.5   512.4   514.3   516.2   520.2   523.7   526.4   530.7   529.8   530.8   532.9   536.8
   Other 3                        292.3   295.2   297.3   297.7   295.8   292.6   295.4   291.9   292.7   289.6   285.8   286.1   287.9
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TERMS OF CREDIT AT COMMERCIAL BANKS AND FINANCE COMPANIES 4
Percent except as noted: not seasonally adjusted
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Institution, terms, and type of loan
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Commercial banks
  Interest rates
   48-mo. new car                  8.92    n.a.    n.a.    9.20    n.a.    n.a.    8.99    n.a.    n.a.    8.96    n.a.    n.a.    8.87
   24-mo. personal                13.46    n.a.    n.a.   13.81    n.a.    n.a.   13.84    n.a.    n.a.   14.50    n.a.    n.a.   14.01
   Credit card plan
    All accounts                  15.88    n.a.    n.a.   15.75    n.a.    n.a.   15.78    n.a.    n.a.   15.65    n.a.    n.a.   15.65
    Accounts assessed interest    15.13    n.a.    n.a.   15.72    n.a.    n.a.   15.81    n.a.    n.a.   15.62    n.a.    n.a.   15.33

New car loans at auto finance companies
  Interest rates                   7.44    8.08    8.56    7.80    7.64    6.71    5.93    6.12    7.27    6.85    5.93    6.12    6.98
  Maturity (months)                54.6    53.5    52.8    53.2    53.3    54.6    55.5    55.4    54.4    53.7    53.5    52.8    52.6
  Loan-to-value ratio                92      90      91      93      93      94      93      93      92      91      92      92      92
  Amount financed (dollars)      16,837  17,198  17,620  18,060  18,171  18,281  18,329  18,520  18,779  18,923  19,121  18,944  18,825
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This release is issued around the fifth business day of each month. The exact date and time may be obtained by calling (202) 452 - 3206.
Footnotes appear on reverse.

1
CONSUMER CREDIT OUTSTANDING
(Billions of dollars)
Not seasonally adjusted

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                                                                         1997                                                1998
                                _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________

                                 Feb.    Mar.    Apr.     May    June    July    Aug.    Sept.  Oct. r  Nov. r  Dec. r  Jan. r  Feb. p
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Total                           1,190.5 1,186.4 1,195.6 1,199.3 1,205.0 1,209.2 1,220.6 1,227.3 1,233.4 1,235.6 1,265.4 1,246.6 1,238.4

Major holders
Commercial banks                  512.9   504.3   510.3   511.6   510.7   514.5   516.2   507.5   506.3   506.5   512.5   500.8   495.6
Finance companies                 153.3   153.8   152.7   154.9   156.7   156.4   157.2   158.4   156.9   156.4   160.0   160.2   157.2
Credit unions                     143.4   143.9   145.6   146.7   147.6   149.0   149.8   150.7   151.5   151.8   153.7   152.3   151.2
Savings institutions               45.5    45.9    46.1    46.3    46.5    47.2    47.8    48.5    48.0    47.6    47.2    46.7    46.3
Nonfinancial business              70.6    70.0    69.3    67.7    68.0    67.6    68.6    68.7    68.5    70.5    78.9    75.4    72.8
Pools of securitized assets 5     264.8   268.5   271.6   272.1   275.6   274.6   281.0   293.5   302.2   302.9   313.1   311.1   315.3

Major types of credit 6
Automobile                        389.8   388.9   391.9   393.8   399.6   403.7   405.7   409.8   415.0   412.9   418.9   415.8   414.6
 Commercial banks                 155.0   153.7   154.2   155.2   156.0   157.8   158.5   157.2   157.9   156.2   155.3   154.4   152.7
 Finance companies                 87.1    85.8    83.2    85.1    87.0    88.3    88.4    88.5    86.8    86.0    87.0    87.4    84.7
 Pools of securitized assets 5     47.5    48.7    52.8    50.8    53.0    52.7    52.4    56.0    60.6    60.4    65.0    63.1    66.0

Revolving                         508.6   503.8   505.8   509.6   511.4   515.1   520.8   524.3   527.5   532.9   555.9   541.4   536.1
 Commercial banks                 215.8   207.3   209.3   212.8   213.3   219.0   217.5   209.3   209.5   212.7   219.8   208.8   204.6
 Finance companies                 32.2    34.1    35.1    35.2    34.9    33.5    33.5    34.9    34.7    34.8    38.6    37.6    37.0
 Nonfinancial business             39.8    39.4    39.0    37.1    37.3    36.8    37.6    37.7    37.5    38.9    45.0    42.7    41.0
 Pools of securitized assets 5    192.3   194.5   193.8   195.8   196.8   196.5   202.4   212.4   215.7   216.4   221.5   221.8   223.4

Other                             292.0   293.7   297.8   295.9   294.0   290.4   294.1   293.2   291.0   289.8   290.7   289.4   287.7
 Commercial banks                 142.2   143.3   146.8   143.6   141.4   137.7   140.2   141.0   138.9   137.5   137.5   137.7   138.3
 Finance companies                 34.0    34.0    34.3    34.7    34.8    34.7    35.2    35.0    35.3    35.5    34.4    35.2    35.5
 Nonfinancial business             30.8    30.5    30.4    30.7    30.7    30.8    31.1    31.0    31.1    31.6    34.0    32.7    31.8
 Pools of securitized assets 5     24.9    25.3    24.9    25.5    25.8    25.4    26.1    25.1    25.8    26.1    26.6    26.3    26.0
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1. Covers most short- and intermediate-term credit extended to individuals, excluding loans secured by real estate.
2. Percent changes calculated from unrounded data.
3. Comprises mobile home loans and all other loans not included in automobile or revolving credit, such as loans for education, boats,
trailers, or vacations. These loans may be secured or unsecured.
4. Interest rates are annual percentage rates (APR) as specified by the Federal Reserve's Regulation Z. Interest rates for new-car loans
and personal loans at commercial banks are simple unweighted averages of each bank's most common rate charged during the first calendar
week of the middle month of each quarter. For credit card accounts, the rate for all accounts is the stated APR averaged across all
credit card accounts at all reporting banks. The rate for accounts assessed interest is the annualized ratio of total finance charges at
all reporting banks to the total average daily balances against which the finance charges were assessed (excludes accounts for which no
finance charges were assessed). Finance company data are from the subsidiaries of the three major U.S. automobile manufacturers and are
volume-weighted averages covering all loans of each type purchased during the month.
5. Outstanding balances of pools upon which securities have been issued; these balances are no longer carried on the balance sheets of
the loan originators.
6. Includes estimates for holders that do not separately report consumer credit holding by type.

r=revised.  p=preliminary.

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