News & Resources

Car buying drives uptick in borrowing

Mar 14, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumers are once again beginning to borrow at high levels, and much of that can be attributed to increased auto purchasing, according to the Federal Reserve. With borrowing exceeding $5 billion for January, despite decreases in credit card use, analysts wondered what led to the jump. According to WWJ-TV, American car makers saw their sales increase by an average of 18 percent for month - much of that attributed to easier access to loans and increased trust in consumer credit scores. Auto loans climbed 6.9 percent during January. Those figures stood in stark contrast to credit card usage, which fell for the 28th time in the last 29 months, according to The Associated Press. "People are still pretty cautious about using their credit cards," David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York, told the AP. "We are coming out of a deep recession in which a lot of people got caught with too much debt." Currently, consumer debt sits 0.7 percent higher than the three-year low from September, the AP reports. Consumer debt levels remain 6.6 percent lower than July 2008 levels, just prior to the start of the recession.