Press Release
Consumers Report Significant Improvements in Credit Market Experiences and Expectations
July 14, 2015

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released results from its June 2015 SCE Credit Access Survey, which provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding credit demand and credit access. The release shows an increase in application rates for credit over the last twelve months, and a significant decline in rejection rates among all types of credit, relative to levels in the prior February 2015 release. The expectations component of the survey shows an increase in the average likelihood of applying for credit over the next 12 months for mortgage, auto loan and credit card limit increase applications; the average perceived likelihood of credit applications being rejected fell for all credit types except mortgage refinance applications.

Experiences

  • The distribution of credit seekers points to a significant improvement in credit market experiences, with more successful applicants and fewer rejected and discouraged credit seekers: 34 percent of respondents applied for credit over the last 12 months and were granted credit, 8.1 percent applied and were rejected, and 5.9 percent were too discouraged to apply despite indicating a need for credit. The share of successful credit applicants reached a new high since we started our SCE Credit Access survey in October 2013, with the shares of rejected applicants and discouraged credit seekers reaching new series lows. The improvement in credit experiences occurred for all age and credit score groups but was greatest for those with credit scores under 680: the proportion of accepted applicants increased by 10.2 percentage points and of rejected applicants decreased by 8.7 percentage points in this demographic. 
  • Application rates improved from 40 percent in February to 42 percent, and increased broadly across all age and credit score groups.
  • Rejection rates decreased from their previous reading in February 2015.
    • Rejection rates per applicant decreased from 25 percent to 19 percent, reaching a new series low. Rejection rates declined among all age groups but were largest for those aged 41 to 59, and those aged 60 and older, whose rejection rates dropped by 8 and 9 percentage points, respectively, since February. Similarly, rejection rates dropped for all credit score groups, but especially for the lowest creditworthy group with the rate dropping to 42 percent from 59 percent in February 2015.
    • Rejection rates per application decreased slightly from 32 percent to 31 percent.
  • Turning to specific credit types (credit card; credit card limit increase; auto loan; mortgage; mortgage refinance), application rates increased slightly for all credit types except for auto loans, with a most noticeable increase for those aged 40 or younger. Rejection rates dropped by at least 5 percentage points for each of the credit types.
  • While the share of respondents reporting an involuntary (lender-initiated) credit account closing or a drop in credit limit remained within the 3 percent-4 percent range seen since October 2013, the proportion reporting a voluntary account closing or credit limit reduction over the past 12 months dropped to 13 percent, well below the 15 percent to 17 percent range seen earlier.

Expectations

  • The proportion of respondents who report they are likely to apply for at least one type of credit over the next 12 months remained steady at 29 percent.
  • At the same time though, the average likelihood of applying for credit over the next 12 months increased for credit card limit, mortgage and auto loan applications, with rates reaching new series highs. On the other hand, expected application rates decreased for credit card and mortgage refinance applications, but with rates remaining near the high end of the range seen since October 2013. Typically the largest increases in expected application rates were among those aged 40 or younger, and those with credit scores under 680.
  • The average perceived likelihood of a credit application being rejected, conditional on applying, fell for mortgages, credit cards, requested credit card limit increases and auto loans, but increased slightly for mortgage refinance applications.

Detailed results are available here.

About the SCE Credit Access Survey
The SCE Credit Access Survey, fielded as part of the SCE (Survey of Consumer Expectations), provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding credit demand and credit access. Every four months, SCE panelists are asked whether they applied for credit in the past 12 months, and the resulting outcomes. They are also asked about their expectations of applying for credit over the next twelve months, and the perceived likelihood of those applications being accepted. We collect this information for five specific credit products: auto loans, credit cards, credit card limit increases, mortgages, and mortgage refinancing. Survey findings (in instances with sufficient sample sizes) are also presented separately by age and self-reported credit score subgroups.

More information about the SCE survey goals, design, and content can be found here. 

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