Consumers’ Credit Market Experiences and Expectations Mostly Stable
November 18, 2015

Given data processing issues, certain data in the following release were edited in August 2018

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released results from its October 2015 SCE Credit Access Survey, which provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding credit demand and credit access. The release shows mostly stable credit market experiences compared to the June 2015 release. The proportion of “discouraged” respondents however increased, mainly driven by lower credit score and younger respondents. The expectations component of the survey generally remained stable as well, although the average likelihood of applying for all types of credit over the next 12 months decreased slightly from their June levels.


  • The distribution of credit seekers points to a slight worsening compared to that reported in the June 2015 Credit Access Survey. 40.9 percent of respondents applied for credit over the last 12 months and were granted credit (similar to in June); 8.1 percent applied and were rejected compared to 6.6 percent in June.
  • The share of respondents who were too discouraged to apply despite needing credit rose from 6.6 percent in June to 7.9 percent in October; this remains lower than the high of 8.5 percent reported in February 2014. The increase in the proportion of discouraged respondents was primarily driven by those with credit scores of less than 680 (the discouraged share in this group rose from 17.3 percent in June 2015 to 22.3 percent in October), and by those 40 years old and younger, for whom the share of discouraged borrowers more than doubled from 4.7 percent in June to 9.8 percent.
  • Application rates overall increased slightly from 47.5 percent in June to 49.0 percent in October. There was a notable increase in the application rate of respondents with credit scores in the middle range (681-759), for whom the application rate rose from 50.4 percent in June to 56.4 percent.
  • The rejection rate per applicant increased from 13.8 percent to 16.5 percent, and the rejection rate per application increased from 12.6 percent in June to 15.2 percent, its second lowest reading since the series start in October 2013.

    Turning to specific credit types (credit card, credit card limit increase, auto loan, mortgage, and mortgage refinance):
    • Application rates were unchanged from June 2015 for most credit types. Application rates, however, rose for credit card limit increases (from 13 percent to 15 percent) and for mortgage refinancing (from 9 percent to 12 percent); these increases were broadbased, across all credit score groups.
    • Rejection rates rose for credit limit increases and auto loans from June, but declined for mortgage refinancing applications.
  • The proportion reporting a voluntary account closing or credit limit reduction over the past 12 months was 14.3 percent, below the 17 percent to 18 percent range seen earlier. The share of respondents reporting an involuntary (lender-initiated) credit account closing or a drop in credit limit declined from 4.2 percent in June to 2.9 percent, also its lowest reading since October 2013.


  • 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. This however masks an increase in the proportion likely to apply for credit among respondents in the middle credit score range, and a decrease in the proportion among those in the highest credit score group.
  • At the same time, the average likelihood of applying for each of the specific credit types over the next 12 months decreased slightly compared to their June 2015 levels. These slight declines were broad based across age and credit score groups
  • The average perceived likelihood of a credit application being rejected, conditional on applying, increased for credit cards and credit card limit increases but decreased for mortgages and 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.

A full set of interactive charts detailing the monthly SCE Credit Access Survey findings can be found here

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

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