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St. Louis Fed Report Explores Growth in Auto Lending Across Nation, District

3/3/2017

ST. LOUIS ― While real per capita consumer debt growth rose across the country in the fourth quarter of 2016, it declined or remained unchanged in most of the largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, according to the latest edition of the Quarterly Debt Monitor published by the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability.

Declines in mortgage debt continued to temper overall debt growth during this period, according to the report. Lending in both the auto and student debt sectors rose, but was uniformly lower on a year-over-year basis when compared with the third quarter report for the nation and for the Eighth District MSAs of Little Rock, Ark., Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn. and St. Louis.

In this edition of the Monitor, author Lowell Ricketts provides a closer look at the robust growth in auto lending in recent years. This expansion, fueled in part by a combination of low interest rates, low fuel prices and a strengthening economy following the Great Recession, has contributed substantially to overall consumer debt levels. 

For more detailed data and charts, see the Monitor’s appendix.