Consumer revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, declined in November for the first time in 2008, after hitting the brakes in the prior month. Americans cut $2.8 billion off total consumer revolving credit after adding $37 billion between January and September of last year. Lower credit limits, reduced personal income and higher credit card interest rates appear to be contributing factors. Revolving credit now stands at $973.5 billion in November and is now declining at a 3.4% annual rate. In September, revolving credit jumped by $2.5 billion reflecting an annual growth rate of 3.2%, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the third quarter was about $830 billion or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData (“www.carddata.com”:http://www.carddata.com). Store and gas credit cards had about $109 billion in outstandings at year-end 2007. At the end of October, Americans were $2571 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.
REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions) Nov 08 Oct 08 Sep 08 Aug 08 Jul 08 Jun 08 GRWTH: -3.4% 0.0% 3.1 2.5 5.6 3.5 $OWED: $973.5 976.3 976.3 973.8 970.1 965.7 Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 1/8/09; For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)