NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Borrowing rose by $241 billion in the final quarter of 2013, the biggest bounce since before the recession, the New York Federal Reserve said Tuesday.
Borrowing rose 2.1 percent from the third quarter to $11.52 trillion, the Fed said.
Just as stock markets were reaching new heights, consumer confidence allowed for gains in every category of borrowing, except for home equity lines of credit, which dropped by $34 billion to $529 billion.
First mortgages rose by $16 billion to $8.15 trillion. Student loans rose by $114 billion to $1.07 trillion.
Auto loans rose to $863 billion, up $80 billion, and credit card borrowing reached $683 billion, up by $4 billion from the previous quarter.
"This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels suggesting that after a long period of deleveraging, households are borrowing again," said economist Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed.