Consumer Debt Rises After Lending Restrictions Are Eased

A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says household borrowing gained 2.1 percent last quarter – the biggest gain since the fall of 2007. The increase is attributed to easier lending conditions and a decline in home foreclosures.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a climb in consumer debt.

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INSKEEP: Household borrowing is on the rise. It gained 2.1 percent last quarter, which is the biggest gain since the fall of 2007 - which is to say, the biggest gain since before the financial crisis peaked. A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says consumer debt held by American households has reached $11.5 trillion.

Mortgage balances led the rise in American borrowing, followed by car loans and student loans. There was a long period where it was very difficult to borrow; that is much less the case now. The New York Fed says there are easier lending conditions, and there's also been a decline in home foreclosures.

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