Credit Risk

Navigating Economic Crossroads: Insights from Market Pulse Webinar

Navigating Economic Crossroads: Insights from Market Pulse Webinar

May 30, 2024 | Olivia Voltaggio

Welcome to the May 2024 Market Pulse Webinar recap. Our goal is to keep you plugged in to what you need to know to navigate today's economic landscape. Please note that the opinions, estimates, and forecasts presented are for general information use only. 

We heard from an all-star lineup of economists who explored the current state of the financial industry as well as the economic trends and challenges they are facing. First, we welcomed back Amy Crews Cutts, President and Chief Economist at AC Cutts & Associates, LLC. Amy formerly served as the Chief Economist here at Equifax. She is a trusted economic advisor to various financial services institutions and trade organizations such as Primerica and the National Association of Credit Management.

We also welcomed back Dr. Robert Wescott, President and Founder of Keybridge, LLC. Robert has served global financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, leading nonprofits, and government agencies since 2001. He served for four years as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House and as Chief Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Finally, we were honored to welcome our third member of the panel, Mark Zandi. Mark is the Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics and a board member of Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), the nation’s largest private mortgage insurance company. He is an expert advisor of policy makers and an influential source of economic analysis for businesses, journalists, and the public. 

Joining us from Equifax, we had David Sojka, Risk Advisor, who shared the latest U.S. consumer credit insights, as well as Tom Aliff, Risk Advisory Leader, who moderated the panel discussion. We were excited to host all these experts on one webinar and hear their perspectives on today’s pressing issues.

Consumer Credit Insights Presented by David Sojka, Equifax Risk Advisor

  • First mortgage originations through January 2024 are higher than those in 2023; auto originations through January 2024 decreased, and the subprime share has dropped from 2018 – 2020 levels and is lower year-over-year (YOY).1

  • January 2024 year-to-date (YTD) bank card dollar limit originations decreased YOY; subprime share has declined since its high in 2021, and the number of new cards originated January YTD is lower than 2023.1

  • January 2024 YTD private label dollar limit originations are down YOY; subprime share decreased, and number of new cards originated is at its lowest since 2013.1

  • As of March 2024, mortgage debt is at $12.6T and increasing; as of March 2024, non-mortgage debt decreased for the second consecutive month.2

  • Revolving debt in March 2024 decreased; non-revolving debt rose in March 2024 after falling in February.2

  • As of March 2024, utilization decreased month-over-month (MoM) for bank card and private label, and home equity lines were basically flat. Credit limits have risen for bank card as well as for home equity.3

  • As of March 2024, except for mortgage, delinquencies on auto, bank card, private label card, and first mortgage decreased MoM.4 

  • As of Q1 2023, ver 60 vintages by product show recent originations performing worse than those of previous years before 2023.5 

  • For all risk tiers, auto loan vintages for Q1 2023 are the worst since 2018.5

  • Card vintages by risk tier show worse performance for Q1 2022 vintages by risk tier, except for super-prime, where Q1 2019 has highest delinquency.5

Macroeconomic Updates Presented by Amy Amy Crews Cutts, President and Chief Economist at AC Cutts & Associates, LLC 

Amy Crews Cutts led us through a discussion on inflation and consumer financial health. First, she noted how consumers intensely dislike inflation.6 However, despite low sentiment, consumers indicate they are mostly doing okay, though they believe their communities and nation are not.7 Finally, the effects of wealth we’re seeing explain the growing disconnect between disposable income and consumer spending,8 and despite rising interest rates and rising debt, household debt service ratios remain low.9

Macroeconomic Updates Presented by Dr. Robert Wescott, President and Founder of Keybridge, LLC 

Dr. Robert Wescott shared three important points on today’s economy. He observed that two main developments have been key to propelling the U.S. economy in recent quarters: stronger than expected employment growth and surprisingly resilient consumer spending. Next, he expressed concern that immigration — legal, illegal, and “parolee” — has been assisting growth. The influx of 3 million new people a year coming to the U.S. is boosting job growth, housing demand, state sales tax collections, and many business activities.10 Additionally, when it comes to inflation, it is still keeping the Fed on hold. Although prices of goods are softening, Keybridge’s “Top 45 CPI Categories to Watch” index of service-sector inflation has been remarkably sticky.11

Macroeconomic Updates Presented by Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics and a Board Member of MGIC 

In his poignant discussion, Mark Zandi offered encouragement that we should remain optimistic amid economic uncertainty. He came to the conclusion that the overall economy is, in fact, doing well, and inflation is heading back to Federal Reserve’s target.12 Interest rates are set to decline,13 and consumers’ purchasing power continues to improve.14 Still, there are possible risks to keep an eye on, like oil prices.

Discussion Moderated by Tom Aliff, Equifax Risk Advisory Leader, with Input from Amy Crews Cutts, President and Chief Economist at AC Cutts & Associates, LLC; Dr. Robert Wescott, President and Founder of Keybridge, LLC; and Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics and a Board Member of MGIC

Throughout this section of the webinar, our experts took a deep dive into other trends and issues they’re seeing as well as the implications for the financial services industry. They answered three questions from our moderator, Tom Aliff.

1. Consumer expenditures and affordability: What is your perspective on current savings and the impact these dwindling savings may have on consumers?

Ms. Crew Cutts noted that wages are not keeping up with inflation, and now we have a situation where overall affordability is the main concern. She estimates that homes are in debt around $2,400 just to keep up with basic expenses. Dr. Wescott shared that we can look at the rising delinquency rates in the auto industry due to affordability issues around extremely high car prices. Mr. Zandi said that he does not think the American economy can flourish for very long with the bottom third struggling because it is not only about the economics but also about what those economics ultimately mean about our ability to respond to problems. 

2. Credit delinquencies: We’ve seen elevated delinquency rates moderate slightly. What’s your outlook on how consumers are faring with current debt obligations? Are we at a delinquency peak?

While Mr. Zandi noted that consumer credit is at a peak, there's a significant tightening in underwriting standards post-banking crisis. To boost optimism, interest rate cuts are crucial. While mortgage rates might not be affected much, lower rates could stabilize delinquency rates just above pre-pandemic levels. Dr. Wescott isn't as optimistic as Mr. Zandi, sharing that he believes we have reached a peak in delinquency rates despite positive economic indicators. Concerns include slowing labor market and service sector inflation, possibly delaying Fed rate cuts. Signs in manufacturing overtime and GDP growth dip raise caution, indicating potential delinquency risks ahead. Ms. Crew Cutts focused on “credit-adjacent” concerns. Earlier, Dr. Wescott mentioned the high price of cars. Ms. Crew Cutts added that it is not just the car price but also repairs, gas prices, insurance, and so on, that contribute to overall affordability concerns. 

3. Policy prognostication: If you could make one change right now to help steer the economy toward a steady state, what might that be?

Mr. Zandi said one thing the U.S. can do very quickly is immigration reform, and he thinks it will happen in the not-too-distant future because the pressure is so intense. Dr. Wescott shared that he hopes for a correction of the fiscal imbalance over the next 10 years, and Ms. Crew Cutts noted how health care in the United States is a concern because the current amount of funds spent on health care is unsustainable.

Stay in the Know 

We hope you’ll register for our next Market Pulse webinar, coming up on June 20, 2024, where you will have the opportunity to add to the conversation throughout the webinar. You can register for upcoming webinars, find our monthly Small Business Insights, and explore our National Consumer Credit Trends Reports here

All the Equifax data and insights presented on our Market Pulse webinars and this blog are pulled directly from these reports.

In today’s dynamic economic landscape, forward motion is not just a strategy. It's a commitment to your customers. Challenging financial times require proactive planning, goal setting, and relentless momentum. To stay on top of all our insights and updates, make sure to follow the Equifax for Business LinkedIn page.


  1. Equifax Market Pulse Credit Trends; Data are January YTD originations for each year in the series

  2. Equifax Market Pulse Credit Trends; Data through March, 2024; monthly balances 

  3. Equifax Market Pulse Credit Trends; Data as reported through March, 2024

  4. Equifax Market Pulse Credit Trends; Data through March 2024; not seasonally adjusted

  5. Equifax Market Pulse Credit Trends; Data through Q12023; not seasonally adjusted 

  6. AC Cutts & Associates LLC, University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Bureau of Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED)

  7. AC Cutts & Associates LLC, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Primerica Financial Security Monitor Survey (used with permission) 

  8. AC Cutts & Associates LLC, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank (FRED)

  9. AC Cutts & Associates LLC, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank (FRED), note the FOR was discontinued in Q4 2023

  10. Brookings, “New Immigration Estimates Help Make Sense of the Pace of Employment,” March 2024; CBO Demographic Outlook

  11. BLS Consumer Price Index April report, Keybridge Calculations, pulled May 2024 

  12. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Moody’s Analytics  April 30, 2024

  13. Federal Reserve, Freddie Mac, Moody’s Analytics April 30, 2024

  14. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlanta Fed, Moody’s Analytics April 30, 2024




Olivia Voltaggio

Olivia Voltaggio

Senior Content Manager, US Information Solutions

Olivia joined Equifax in 2019. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Olivia holds an Editing Certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School.