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New Credit Growth Highest in Two Years, Equifax Reports

October 04, 2011

ATLANTA — Equifax's latest National Credit Trends Report indicated that new credit growth is at its highest level in two years. Total new credit available from January-June 2011 was at $370 billion, exceeding the January-June 2010 total of $327 billion and the January-June 2009 total of $338 billion.

The credit cycle has turned with higher loan volumes on a 2011 year-to-date basis for multiple lending markets, including automotive, bankcard, and consumer finance and retail card, according to Equifax. During the recession, the average dollar amount of individual delinquencies increased, but signs in the auto and bankcard lending sectors indicate this is reversing.

"An artifact of the recession has been lower, more judicious new loan amounts, which are now easing in some instances," said Michael Koukounas, senior vice president of special client services for Equifax. "While lending generally continues to lag behind prerecession levels, we are seeing some positive changes in loan totals and loan amounts among certain sectors."

Consumers' payment behavior continues to improve, and, as a result, the average Equifax Risk Score reached 696 for August 2011, according to the company. Total bankcard originations for January-June 2011 were up 27 percent year over year, continuing a sustained growth trend for 2011.

The number of bankcard delinquencies also is declining to pre-recession levels, but the average size of bankcard delinquencies has increased from $3,025 (August 2006) to $3,500 (August 2011), according to Equifax.

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