U.S. consumer credit demand back to pre-pandemic levels – NY Fed survey

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FILE PHOTO: Shoppers carry bags of purchased merchandise at the King of Prussia Mall, United States' largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia

By Jonnelle Marte

(Reuters) – U.S. consumers showed stronger demand for credit this year and applications for credit overall rebounded to 2019 levels after falling significantly during the pandemic, according to a survey released on Monday by the New York Federal Reserve.

The rise in demand was broad-based across credit scores and age groups, but strongest for consumers with lower credit scores, as well as those younger than age 40 or above age 60, according to the latest Survey of Consumer Expectations Credit Access Survey.

The average application rate for credit was 45.6% in 2021, comparable to the 2019 rate of 45.8%, the report found. The share of respondents saying they are likely to apply for at least one type of credit over the next year also rose slightly to 29.5% for 2021 from 26.3% for 2020.

Consumers also reported feeling more concerned about their ability to handle unexpected costs. The average probability of needing $2,000 for a surprise expense in the next month rose to 33.2% in 2021 from 31.8% in 2020. Meanwhile the perceived odds of being able to come up with the $2,000 decreased to 68.2% in 2021 from 69.4% in 2020.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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