The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a new tool designed to help the public track consumer lending trends as well as identify future risks.  The tool, available on the CFPB website, is called “Consumer Credit Trends,” and it currently tracks originations of mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans.  Within each of those categories, a user can see the data broken down by origination activity, borrower risk profile (credit score levels), lending by neighborhood income level, and lending by borrower’s age.  The CFPB states that they will use this data to “monitor conditions in consumer credit markets, analyze the effects of regulatory interventions, and to conduct research into issues affecting consumers.”

Although the Bureau does not provide specifics as to the data itself, it states that the data is from a nationally representative sample of credit records from one of the top three national credit repositories.  Before providing the information to the CFPB, the repository stripped the data of any information that could identify a particular consumer’s identity.

The CFPB has stated that it plans to update the information in the tool regularly and provide analysis on trends and findings.  The CFPB’s findings in this first release of data include:

  • An increase in mortgage lending between August and October 2016, compared to one year previously;
  • An increase in credit card lending this year, including a large increase in low-income neighborhoods;
  • A slight decline in auto loans, as compared to the same period last year (however, this decline was predominantly among higher risk consumers);
  • Continued historically high percentages of auto lending to consumers over 65 years old; and
  • A slight decrease in originations of student loans, compared to the same period in 2015.

In a press release about the new tool, CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated, “This critical information will help us identify and act on trends that warn of another crisis or that show credit is too constricted.”  The CFPB plans to eventually expand the tool to include other consumer credit products as well as information on credit applications, delinquency rates, and consumer debt levels.

Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor this tool, as well as the CFPB’s analysis of this data.