The CFPB has unveiled “Consumer Credit Trends,” which it describes as “a web-based tool to help the public monitor developments in consumer lending and forecast potential future risks.”

The tool, which was released in beta version, tracks originations for mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans.  For each category, the tool shows loan volume by borrower credit score, income level, and age.  According to the CFPB, the tool uses information taken from a nationally representative sample of credit records maintained by one of the top three U.S. consumer reporting agencies that, before it is provided to the CFPB, has been stripped of information that might reveal consumers’ identities, such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

The CFPB plans to include other consumer credit products and information on credit applications, delinquency rates, and consumer debt levels, regularly update the information on the tool, and offer analyses on notable findings as warranted.

The CFPB states in its press release that the first Consumer Credit Trends release shows:

  • From August to October 2016, mortgage originations were up by 48.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015.  Over 900,000 mortgages, totaling $243 billion, were originated in October 2016, which the CFPB describes as “an unusually large number likely due to a high rate of mortgage refinancing.”
  • Approximately 58.9 million credit card accounts have been opened in 2016, up 9.5 percent compared to the same period in 2015.  Credit card lending in low-income neighborhoods was up 14.2 percent compared to the same period in 2015.
  • Through October 2016, 22.9 million auto loans were originated, about 0.5 percent fewer than the same period last year with the decline concentrated among consumers with subprime or deep subprime credit scores.  In addition, consumers 65 and older took out twice the number of auto loans as those in that age group a decade ago.  (According to the CFPB, the tool’s “auto loan” data covers “closed-end loans used by consumers to finance the purchase of a new or used auto, where the auto is used as collateral for the loan.”  It appears that the CFPB is using the terms “auto loans” and  “closed-end loans” to refer to both direct and indirect financing (i.e. loans of money and retail installment sales).
  • Approximately 11.3 million student loans (which includes federal and private student loans and consolidation loans) have been originated so far in 2016, down 1.3 percent compared to the same period in 2015.