Posted: Sep 8, 2011 2:53 PM by Matt Stafford
WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans borrowed more money in July than any other month in more than three years. But they cut back on using their credit cards.
The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose nearly $12 billion in July. Greater demand for school and auto loans fueled the increase. A category that measures credit card use fell in July after large increases in May and June.
Total consumer borrowing increased to a seasonally adjusted annual level of $2.45 trillion. That's barely 2 percent above the four-year low reached in September.
Borrowing is usually a sign of confidence in the economy. Consumers tend to take on more debt when they feel wealthier. But an increase in credit card use can be a sign that people have fallen on harder times.