While the bulk of the quantity data contained in the Fed’s quarterly Household Debt and Credit Report is known in advance courtesy of the Fed’s monthly tracking of household revolving and non-revolving debt, the quality components always provide a welcome insight into the state of the US household. It is there that we find that the most disturbing trend in recent years: the encumbering of students with record amounts of loans continues. In fact, as of December 31, the total amount of non-dischargeable (for now) student loans hit a new all time high of $1.08 trillion an increase of $53 billion in the quarter. By comparison, total credit card debt as of the same period was “only” $683 billion. At this rate, total student loans will be double the size of all credit card debt within 2-3 years.
What’s worse, while the 90+ day student debt delinquency rate did post a tiny decline from 11.8% to 11.5% in Q4, on a total notional basis due to the increase in outstanding balances, as of this moment the amount of heavily delinquent student loans has just hit a fresh record high of $124.3 billion, up from $121.5 billion in the prior quarter.
So: when does the Fed finally admit i) there is a student loan problem and ii) the only way to solve said problem is to promptly monetize it?
Finally, putting new “debt” creation in perspective, in 2013 just student and car loans alone represented 108% (that’s right, more than all) of total household debt created.