)Reuters) - Consumer credit shot up during March at the fastest rate since late 2001 as credit-card use, and student and car loans ballooned, data from the Federal Reserve showed on Monday.

Total consumer credit grew by $21.36 billion - more than twice the $9.8 billion rise that Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast. That followed a revised $9.27 billion increase in outstanding credit February.

It was the largest surge in consumer credit for any month since November 2001, when it climbed by $28 billion, according to the Fed's statistics.