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Journal Article
The financial crisis at the kitchen table: trends in household debt and credit

Since the onset of the financial crisis, households have reduced their outstanding debt by about $1.3 trillion. While part of this reduction stemmed from a historic increase in consumer defaults and lender charge-offs, particularly on mortgage debt, other factors were also at play. An analysis of the New York Fed?s Consumer Credit Panel?a rich new data set on individual credit accounts?reveals that households actively reduced their obligations during this period by paying down their current debts and reducing new borrowing. These household choices, along with banks? stricter lending ...
Current Issues in Economics and Finance , Volume 19 , Issue April

Discussion Paper
Have Consumers Been Deleveraging?

Since its peak in summer 2008, U.S. consumers’ indebtedness has fallen by more than a trillion dollars. Over roughly the same period, charge-offs—the removal of obligations from consumers’ credit reports because of defaults—have risen sharply, especially on loans secured by houses, which make up about 80 percent of consumer liabilities. An important question for gauging the behavior of U.S. consumers is how to interpret these two trends. Is the reduction in debts entirely attributable to defaults, or are consumers actively reducing their debts? In this post, we demonstrate that a ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110321

Discussion Paper
What Americans (Don’t) Know about Student Loan Collections

U.S. student debt has more than tripled since 2004, and at over $1 trillion is now substantially greater than both credit card and auto debt balances. There are substantial potential benefits to be gained from taking out a student loan to fund a college education, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates for college grads. However, there are significant costs to having student debt: The loans frequently carry relatively high interest rates, delinquency is common and costly (involving potential late fees and collection fees), and the federal government has the power to garnish ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20140605

Discussion Paper
The Graying of American Debt

The U.S. population is aging and so are its debts. In this post, we use the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on Equifax credit data, to look at how debt is changing as baby boomers reach retirement age and millennials find their footing. We find that aggregate debt balances held by younger borrowers have declined modestly from 2003 to 2015, with a debt portfolio reallocation away from credit card, auto, and mortgage debt, toward student debt. Debt held by borrowers between the ages of 50 and 80, however, increased by roughly 60 percent over the same time period. This ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160224

Discussion Paper
Puerto Rico's Evolving Household Debts

Debt and its performance play a critical role in economic development. The enormous increase in mortgage debt that took place during the run-up to the 2007 financial crisis and the contribution of that debt to the crisis underscore the importance of household debt to financial stability and economic growth. While we regularly report on household debt at the national level and for selected states in our Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, we have not reported separately on Puerto Rico. This post introduces metrics on household debt in Puerto Rico, which we plan to update regularly. ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160812

Report
Financial education and the debt behavior of the young

Young Americans are heavily reliant on debt and have clear financial literacy shortcomings, yet evidence on the relationship between financial education and youths? subsequent debt behavior remains both limited and mixed. In this paper, we study the effects of exposure to financial training on debt outcomes in early adulthood among a large and representative sample of young Americans. Variation in exposure to financial training comes from statewide changes in high school graduation requirements regarding financial literacy, economics, and mathematics that were mandated in the late 1990s and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 634

Report
Do informal referrals lead to better matches? Evidence from a firm's employee referral system

The limited nature of data on employment referrals in large business and household surveys has so far limited our understanding of the relationships among employment referrals, match quality, wage trajectories, and turnover. Using a new, firm-level data set that includes explicit information on whether a worker was referred by a current employee of the company, we are able to provide rich detail on these empirical relationships for a single U.S. corporation, and to test various predictions of theoretical models of labor market referrals. Predictions with which our results align include: 1) ...
Staff Reports , Paper 568

Report
Measuring student debt and its performance

Studies continue to indicate that higher education is frequently a worthwhile investment for individuals and that it raises the productivity of the workforce as a whole. While the rising cost of post-secondary education has not eliminated this "college premium," it has raised new questions about how growing numbers of students can make these investments. One solution to this problem is student loans, which have come to play an increasingly important role in financing higher education. Yet, despite its importance, educational debt is not well understood. Among the reasons is that there ...
Staff Reports , Paper 668

Report
Do we know what we owe? A comparison of borrower- and lender-reported consumer debt

Household surveys are the source of some of the most widely studied data on consumer balance sheets, with the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) generally cited as the leading source of wealth data for the United States. At the same time, recent research questions survey respondents? propensity and ability to report debt characteristics accurately. We compare household debt as reported by borrowers to the SCF with household debt as reported by lenders to Equifax using the new FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel (CCP). Moments of the borrower and lender debt distributions are compared by year, age of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 523

Report
The financial crisis at the kitchen table: trends in household debt and credit

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) Consumer Credit Panel, created from a sample of U.S. consumer credit reports, is an ongoing panel of quarterly data on individual and household debt. The panel shows a substantial run-up in total consumer indebtedness between the first quarter of 1999 and the peak in the third quarter of 2008, followed by a steady decline through the third quarter of 2010. During the same period, delinquencies rose sharply: Delinquent balances peaked at the close of 2009 and then began to decline again. This paper documents these trends and discusses their sources. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 480

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