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Reproduced from New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans cut back on credit cards and increased savings during the worst three-month economic period in U.S. history, as household debt fell for the first time in six years, data from the New York Fed showed.

By the numbers: Total debt declined 0.2% to $14.27 trillion in the second quarter, led by a $76 billion drop in outstanding credit-card balances.

  • Mortgage borrowing rose by $63 billion in the quarter to $9.78 trillion. Almost 70% of mortgage originations were among borrowers with a credit score of at least 760, the highest percentage since record keeping began in 2003.

Between the lines: The number of borrowers in distress fell significantly in the second quarter, but that was largely due to government relief efforts, including $1,200 one-time payments, enhanced unemployment benefits and loan forbearance programs included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

  • The serious delinquency rate on consumer debt fell by half between the end of March and the end of July, to 0.7%, data from Equifax show.

What they're saying: “Protections afforded to American consumers through the CARES Act have prevented large scale delinquency,” said Joelle Scally, senior data analyst at the New York Fed.

  • “However, these temporary relief measures may also mask the very real financial challenges that Americans may be experiencing.”

Of note: The largest decrease in delinquencies of at least 90 days was in student loan debt, which was paused by the CARES Act. It fell to 7% compared with almost 11% in the first quarter.

  • Delinquencies of at least 90 days on credit cards, which were not paused by the CARES Act, rose to nearly 10%, the highest level since the second quarter of 2013.

Go deeper

Coronavirus pandemic brings boom times for swaths of corporate America

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Not only are corporate earnings coming in above Wall Street’s expectations, but a large swath of corporate America is making more money now than before the pandemic hit.

By the numbers: Earnings season is nearly over. Of the companies that have reported quarterly results, 52% saw bigger profits compared to this time last year, according to data provided to Axios by FactSet.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.