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Weekly Economic Commentary


Consumers Are Borrowing Again, Is it Here to Stay?

May 7, 2012

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Consumer borrowing increased $21.3 billion in March to $2.54 trillion. This is the largest monthly increase since November 2001. Revolving credit (credit cards) and non-revolving credit advanced in March, with the latter posting the larger gain.

Chart - 05 07 2012

The level of outstanding consumer credit is only 1.6% short of the peak ($2.58 trillion) registered in 2008. Consumer borrowing is back in full swing, but will it continue to advance?

Chart 2 - 05 07 2012

The latest Senior Loan Officer Survey shows an increased willingness to lend to consumers (Chart 3). The improvement in the attitude of bankers and the sharp increase in the demand for consumer loans (see Chart 4) are factors supportive of further growth in consumer borrowing.

Chart 3 - 05 07 2012

Chart 4 - 05 07 2012











The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The Northern Trust Company does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein, such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.