ATLANTA (4/29/14)--General-purpose credit cards, such as VISA or MasterCard, lead new credit origination growth this year, according to Equifax's National Consumer Trends Report, released Monday.
Credit unions and other institutions that distribute the cards saw a 28.5% increase in January year-over-year--to $19.5 billion from $15.2 billion--while auto loan originations climbed 19.8% to $34.3 billion from $28.6 billion over that time.
Auto loans continue to lead the way overall in total loan origination dollars.
Revolving home equity loans, meanwhile, experienced an 18.4% jump in growth to $7.3 billion from $6.2 billion.
"Spring is here and consumers' desire for credit appears to be rising alongside the mercury," said Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax chief economist. "Despite the relatively low numbers of new and used vehicles sold in January, auto originations were up nearly 20% from the same time last year. This suggests that consumers are responding positively to the generous terms and greater credit availability in the auto space."
With both credit card and home equity loan originations sharply increasing over the past year, it signals "that not only are consumers interested in credit, but that banks are more willing to offer it," Crews Cutts said.
About 1.8 million auto loans were originated in January, an eight-year high and a 4.7% increase year-over-year. The total balance of auto loans outstanding for March rose 10.3% from levels last year.
The total number of credit card loans outstanding sits higher than $320 million, the highest since September 2009. The total aggregate credit card limit for credit cards also sits at a 4 1/2-year high, at more than $2.5 trillion.