WASHINGTON – Consumer borrowing rose in October by the largest amount in more than two years, led by a big rise in the category that includes student loans.
The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumer credit rose at an annual rate of $3.4 billion in October, the largest increase since a $5.7 billion gain in July 2008. Consumer credit was also up in September.
But the strength in both September and October is being heavily influenced as the result of a recently enacted law that makes the government the primary lender to students.
The increase of $3.4 billion in overall credit surpassed the flat reading that economists had expected. The gain translated into a 1.7 percent rise and followed a 0.6 percent increase in September. Those were the first back-to-back monthly gains since mid-2008. Consumer credit had fallen for 19 straight months before the rise in September.