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Quarterly Debt Monitor: Consumer Debt Rises for 10th Quarter in a Row


ST. LOUIS ― The Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has released the inaugural issue of the report, The Quarterly Debt Monitor: Trends in Consumer Debts in St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis – and Beyond.

“Following a lengthy period of deleveraging, total debt is on the rise across the nation and the District’s four largest MSAs,” the report states. “The increases represent more economic activity as consumers take on new liabilities to finance consumption.”

Authors Don E. Schlagenhauf and Lowell R. Ricketts looked at auto, mortgage, credit card and student loan debt, as well as Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) for the nation and the four largest metropolitan statistical areas in the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Little Rock, Ark., Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis.

The authors also examined trends in serious delinquency rates. They define debt in serious delinquency as that for which payment is at least 90 days past due.

“The serious delinquency rate for student loans has risen for years,” the report states.  “In Little Rock, the rate has tripled, in effect, in the past 13 years.  During that time, the serious delinquency rate nationally and in the MSAs has surpassed that of credit cards for the infamous title of worst serious delinquency rate among debt types considered here.”

For the full text of the inaugural issue of The Quarterly Debt Monitor, visit the Center for Household Financial Stability online.  The report was initially launched in a shortened format in March 2016 through the Center’s publication In the Balance.  It takes a comparative dive into debt locally and nationally.

For further information or for general media inquiries, please contact Laura Taylor at 314-444-8783 or