More student loans boost consumer credit $11.4B

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The Federal Reserve says Americans took out more student and auto loans in September. Consumer borrowing rose to a new record.

Americans also cut back on credit card borrowing.

The central bank says total consumer borrowing rose $11.4 billion in September compared with August. Total consumer debt outstanding, which excludes mortgages and other housing-related borrowing, stands at $2.74 trillion - the highest level on record.

The increase was driven entirely by a category that consists mostly of student and auto loans. Borrowing in that category increased $14.3 billion. Credit card borrowing fell $2.9 billion, the third drop in four months.

Most of the gains appeared to be in student lending, which could reflect the start of the academic year. Loans held by the federal government, which are mostly student loans, increased $13.8 billion. The figures for specific categories of loans are not seasonally adjusted.

Credit card usage has fallen sharply since the 2008 credit crisis. Four years ago, Americans had $1 trillion in credit card debt, an all-time high. In September, that figure was 17 percent lower.

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