Press Release
Delinquencies, Foreclosures and Bankruptcies Improve as Household Debt Stays Flat
May 12, 2015

New York—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit Report revealed that aggregate household debt balances were largely flat in the first quarter of 2015. As of the end of March, total household indebtedness was $11.85 trillion, a $24 billion, or 0.2 percent, increase during the first quarter of this year. The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.    

The slowdown in growth can be attributed to a negligible uptick in mortgage balances, which are the largest component of household debt. Mortgage balances stood at $8.17 trillion in the first quarter. Additionally, balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC), which were $510 billion at the end of fourth quarter, 2014, were unchanged in the first quarter of this year.
 
Non-housing debt balances increased by 0.7 percent from the end of last year, largely due to increases in student loans ($32 billion) and auto loans ($13 billion). These gains were partially offset by a $16 billion decline in credit card balances.

Measures on delinquencies, foreclosures and bankruptcies all improved in the first quarter. The percentage of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency fell to 5.7 percent from 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, with continuing improvements in mortgages. About 112,000 individuals had a new foreclosure notation added to their credit reports in the first quarter of this year, the lowest total since at least 1999. Four percent fewer consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports, bringing the quarterly total to its lowest point since early 2006.     

“Tight standards on mortgage lending are reflected in both sluggish growth in housing debt as well as substantial reductions in mortgage delinquency and defaults,“  said Andrew Haughwout, senior vice president and economist at the New York Fed. 

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q1 2015:

Category Quarterly Change* Annual Change** Total as of Q1 2015
Mortgage Debt (+) $1 billion (+) $6 billion $8.17 trillion
Student Loan Debt (+) $32 billion (+) $78 billion $1.19 trillion
Auto Loan Debt (+) $13 billion (+) $93 billion $968 billion
Credit Card Debt (-) $16 billion (+) $25 billion $684 billion
HELOC $0 billion (-) $16 billion $510 billion
Total Debt (+) $24 billion (+) $201 billion $11.85 trillion
*Change from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015
**Change from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015  

90+ day delinquency rates:

Category Q1 2015 Q4 2014
Mortgages 3.0 % 3.1 %
Student Loans 11.1% 11.3%
Auto Loans 3.3% 3.5%
Credit Cards 8.4% 7.3%
HELOC 3.0% 3.2%
All 4.3% 4.3%

Contact
Kevin Sajdak 
212 720-6143
kevin.sajdak@ny.frb.org