Banks puzzle over unexpected drop in credit card applications amid the coronvavirus pandemic. New credit applications have dropped by 40%, auto loans by 52%, and mortgage inquiries by 27%.

  • Banks typically expect consumers to open new credit cards during times of economic hardship. Americans however, have not taken this approach during the current global coronavirus pandemic.
  • A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Credit Panel says new credit card applications were down 40% from the first week of March to the last week.
  • Auto loan hard credit inquiries have also decreased by 52% and mortgage inquiries by 27%.
  • CFPB says the drop could be due to lowered demand for credit as people spend less.
  • Or consumers may expect it will be harder to qualify for credit during the current coronavirus pandemic.
  • Consumers with the higher credit scores saw the steepest drop. Card applications declined by 59% for consumers with very high credit scores (above 780).
  • Card applications declined by 34% for consumers with very low credit scores (below 500).
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