U.S. consumer credit holdings grew by $7.65 billion in October, the U.S. Federal Reserve said in its monthly report on consumer credit today.
That growth, which represents an annualized rate of 3.7 percent, was above the expectations of economists, who had forecast growth close to $7 billion. The credit growth figure for September, which had been previously reported as $7.39 billion, was revised to a less-impressive $6.88 billion.
Most of the growth in consumer borrowings were attributed to non-revolving loans such as personal, auto financing and education loans. Credit card borrowing grew only tepidly, up $366 million.
Most of the new lending in October appears to have been done by two institutions: the federal government, which held $3.8 billion more in liabilities, and investors in pools of securitized assets, who took on $2.5 billion more in debt. Lending to consumers by large commercial banks and finance companies (such as credit card issuers) was down, while it was only slightly up at credit unions.
The dramatic rise in lending by the federal government is almost exclusively attributable to students loans, which the government now holds directly in its books. Over the past two years, this type of lending has grown dramatically, more than doubling since 2009.