Total Consumer Credit - Excluding Mortgages, Seasonally Adjusted

Total consumer credit bottomed out in September 2010 at $2.395 trillion and has risen gradually every month since then to $2.432 trillion in May 2011. Consumer credit has two main components. The largest component is nonrevolving credit, which includes loans for automobiles, mobile homes, education and a few other categories. Nonrevolving credit totaled $1.639 trillion in May, above its pre-crisis peak of $1.609 trillion. Revolving credit, primarily credit card loans, totaled $793 billion in May, just above its cyclical low posted the previous month. Mortgage debt on one-to-four-family residences, which is not counted as consumer credit (and is thus not included in the chart), totaled $10.5 trillion at the end of the first quarter, and it continues to decline, falling almost $74 billion in the first quarter alone. Overall, then, consumers continue to deleverage but with some differences by type of loan. Mortgage debt continues to fall sharply; revolving credit appears to have bottomed out, and nonrevolving credit is rising again. If the economy and the labor market gain some traction in the second half of the year – defying the disappointing June employment report released last week – revolving credit would likely begin to grow again, which would provide a tailwind for retailers and shopping centers. However, revolving credit is unlikely to grow briskly until the housing market begins to recover, as consumers often use their credit cards to buy big-ticket items for their new homes.