Credit rebound

Interest rate cuts and federal government handouts appear to have made consumers a little more confident about taking on credit in the past couple of months.

A pick-up in demand for personal loans and mortgage applications in the June quarter almost offset a drop in credit card applications, credit intelligence data provider Veda said.

Veda’s overall credit demand index was 0.5 per cent lower in the June quarter, after a marked 4.4 per cent slowdown in the previous quarter, to be up 0.1 per cent over the year,

Credit demand showed some real strength from the middle of May through to the end of the quarter, Veda’s head of consumer risk Angus Luffman said.

“This strength coincided with the RBA rate cuts and the recent pre-June 30 family assistance payments,” Luffman said on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia made cuts totalling 75 basis points to the cash rate in May and June, and at the same time the government started rolling out a new schoolkids bonus and compensation payments linked to carbon pricing.

“Household assistance payments and similar stimulus from government are known to support consumer spending but invariably also lead to an increase in credit demand in the near term,” Luffman said.

Personal loan applications rose by 1.4 per cent over the year to June, while auto loans were particularly strong, standing 16 per cent higher on an annual basis.

This was the highest in five years and coincided with industry data that showed June was the best month on record for vehicle sales.

Mortgage applications jumped 4.8 per cent in the quarter to be 0.7 per cent higher on an annual basis, which Luffman said was a good leading indicator for future housing demand.

Credit card applications were down 2.4 per cent in the quarter and 1.2 per cent lower over the year.



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