Report illustrates American debt in the third quarter

By WEEK Producer

Report illustrates American debt in the third quarter

November 28, 2012 Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM CDT

NEW YORK -- Debt is rising in America, according to the latest figures released by the Federal Reserve.

However, in the midst of bad news, there was a glimmer of hope as the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit shows household debt fell by $74 billion in the third quarter. This decrease, experts say, is almost entirely from mortgage debt.  Non-real estate household debt actually increased 2.3 percent to $2.7 trillion in the third quarter.

Debt rose from student loans ($42 billion), auto loans ($18 billion) and credit card balances ($2 billion).

The report showed there are 382 million open credit card accounts, down slightly from the previous quarter. Yet, balances on credit card accounts increased by approximately $2 billion.

Other findings include:

* Delinquency rates on student loans continue to rise and have now surpassed the delinquency rate of credit cards. Of the total student loans, 11 percent were delinquent, an increase from 9 percent in the second quarter. This is also higher than the 10.5 percent of the credit card accounts that are delinquent. Delinquency rates were down to 5.9 percent on mortgages, steady at 4.9 percent on home-equity lines of credit and 4.3 percent on auto loans.

* Outstanding student loan debt was $956 billion, up $42 billion since last quarter. $23 billion was new debt.

* Outstanding auto loan debt was $768 billion, the highest in almost four years.

* Mortgage debt was $8.03 trillion, the lowest level since 2006.

The full report can be accessed at http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/national_economy/householdcredit/DistrictReport_Q32012.pdf.

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