Volumes for Leading Card Issuers Are Recovering

In their most recent quarterly financials, the leading U.S. credit card issuers continued to show improvement in spending volumes. Credit card volumes were significantly hit in 2009, as consumers pulled back on discretionary spending, and as credit card issuers retrenched and reduced account numbers.

The following chart shows that most leading issuers returned to year-on-year growth in credit card volume in 2010, and that the rate of growth has steadily improved.

The reasons for the recent improvement in card volume are:

  • Overall economic recovery, with corresponding growth in consumer spending
  • Issuers’ promotion of card spending as a source of revenue, in particular as outstandings growth has been largely absent

A number of card issuers recently predicted that card outstandings should grow in the second half of 2011, but we expect that issuers will continue to push card volume, and aim for a good balance between spending and lending.