Bank credit card lending grows, while home equity loans fall

A new study says consumers who were looking to finance a purchase in the first two-thirds of the year had mixed results.

According to Equifax National Credit Trends Report, between January and August 2011, the total number of new bank credit cards opened rose 25 percent when compared to the same eight-month period in 2010.

Home equity lending, meanwhile, decreased considerably. Equifax reports that for the first time in six years, total new bank credit cards exceeded the number of new home equity lines when comparing the two time periods.

"On the whole, the lending industry is experiencing dramatically mixed results depending on the sector," said Michael Koukounas, Equifax senior vice president of special client services. "Bank credit card and auto lending, in particular, have consistently performed strongly this year … but the severe retraction within home equity lending continues to underscore the level of impact that declining home values are having on the economy."

Restrictive lending standards may have exacerbated the slower pace of home equity lines administered. A strong credit report with a high FICO score can increase the chances a borrower will be approved for a loan.