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Consumers--And Members--Borrowed Slightly More In March
WASHINGTON (5/8/13)--Borrowing by consumers and credit union members increased in March, but the increase is smaller than projected, and revolving credit--credit card use--actually decreased, said the Federal Reserve's Consumer Credit report, released Tuesday afternoon.

Overall borrowing rose $7.97 billion or 5.75%  to reach $2.81 trillion--the smallest increase since July. Economists surveyed had forecast a $16 billion increase. The data indicate that consumers are still trying to find ways to pare down their debt, said Reuters and Bloomberg (May 7). While some economists suggested this might indicate consumers are still restraining their spending, others said the deleveraging by consumers appeared to have run its course.

The $2.81 trillion credit total for March compares with $2.799 trillion borrowed in February, and $2.65 trillion borrowed in first quarter of 2012.  At credit unions, members borrowed $246.7 billion, up from February's $246.6 billion and from $223 billion in first quarter of 2012.

Revolving credit data showed that consumers overall charged $846.2 billion in March, down from $847.9 billion in February but up from $842.2 billion in first quarter 2012.  Although the nation's consumers pared down their charges, credit union members' charge card debt rose--to $39.4 billion from $39.3 billion in February. That compares with $36.4 billion in first quarter last year.

Nonrevolving debt--which includes student and auto loans but not real estate loans--rose $9.68 billion in March to $1.96 trillion, up from $1.951 trillion in February.  During first quarter of 2012, nonrevolving debt totaled $1,808.7 trillion.

In credit unions, nonrevolving debt for March totaled $208.2 billion. That's up from $207.2 billion in February. During first quarter 2012, members borrowed $186.6 billion.
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