WASHINGTON (5/8/14)--Consumers were more willing to take on credit in March as outstanding credit balances climbed $17.5 billion nationwide, the steepest increase reported by the Federal Reserve since the end of last year (
Non-revolving credit fueled the incline, posting a $16.4 billion jump, while revolving credit balances edged up $1.1 billion, which follows two consecutive months of decline.
"Improvement in the job market, house prices and stocks have consumers feeling more confident," wrote Andrew Davis of Moody's on
"In turn, consumers are taking advantage of extremely low interest rates and easier access to credit to finance big ticket items such as education and vehicles."
At credit unions, overall outstanding consumer credit totals jumped to $269.9 billion, up from $267.9 billion in February. Mirroring the rest of the market, non-revolving credit drove the gains at the member-owned institutions, jumping $2 billion in March to $227.9 billion from $225.9 billion.
Revolving credit at credit unions inched up to $42.1 billion from $42 billion-even in February.
Student federal loans, within the non-revolving category of debt, remained strong overall, climbing $16.4 billion in March, or an 8.7% increase from February's numbers. Credit card debt within revolving credit totals rose $1.1 billion in March, a 1.6% climb.