by Basit Zafar and Wilbert van der Klaauw – Liberty Street Economics, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Today, we are releasing new data on consumers’ experiences and expectations regarding credit demand. We have been collecting these data every four months since mid-2013, as part of our Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). Other data sources describing consumer credit either provide aggregates that are an interaction of credit supply and demand (such as the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel), or show only short-term changes in supply and demand (as reported by the supply side in theSenior Loan Officer Opinion Survey), or are too infrequent to provide a real-time picture of changes in consumer credit demand and access (Survey of Consumer Finances). The goal of the SCE Credit Access Survey – which will henceforth be published every four months – is to fill this void. In this blog post, we provide an overview of the survey and highlight some of its features.

Survey Overview

We first ask survey panelists about their experiences with credit applications over the past twelve months. Panelists are divided into two groups based on whether they’ve applied for any credit during that period. Those who did not apply are asked whether they had no need for credit, or whether they didn’t apply for credit despite needing it because they believed they wouldn’t be approved; the latter group reflects latent demand for credit. Those who applied for credit, on the other hand, are asked whether their request was granted. We collect this information for seven specific credit products: auto loans, credit cards, credit card limit increases, purchase mortgages, mortgage refinancing, student loans, and increases in limits of other existing loans. On the release page, we present overall application rates and rejection rates for all seven categories combined, as well as by each of the first five credit products (sample sizes are too small for the last two—student loans and increases in limits of other loans). We also collect data on whether respondents had experienced a voluntary or involuntary account closure in the past twelve months.

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