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Credit unions see greater consumer credit growth than banks in fourth quarter

imagesData released by the Federal Reserve last week revealed that consumer credit growth at credit unions outpaced consumer credit of banks and other finance firms during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Banks saw a 2.7 percent consumer credit growth in the fourth quarter, but credit unions’ growth slightly outpaced other institutions at three percent, 10 times the 0.3 percent growth rate at finance companies. Last December, credit unions’ total consumer credit rose 0.5 percent from the previous month, while banks and finance firms saw respective increases of 1.9 percent and 0.1 percent, according to Credit Union Insight.

Total consumer credit, which does not include real estate loans, grew at a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 6.3 percent last December. Doug Christman, a research associate at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said that non-revolving credit has driven the growth of consumer credit as consumers continue to take advantage of record-low interest rates and increasingly take on more student loan debt.

Consumer credit has increased steadily, due in part to the rapid rise in non-revolving credit, primarily auto and education loans. Revolving credit has not seen a consistent trend over the past several months, Credit Union Insight reports.

In December, credit unions’ share of the total consumer credit was 8.8 percent, while banks took a 43.8 percent share and finance companies took a 24.4 percent share of the market.

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