Consumer borrowing hit a record $3.04 trillion in the second quarter of 2013, a 22% increase over the last three years.
Driving the consumer debt were auto and student loans, which account for $2.19 trillion of the total. Student loans have increased 61% over the last three years.
Credit card debt, however, fell $33 billion down to nearly $850 billion, a signal that Americans are tightening their financial belts. The trend could depress holiday sales as well as economic growth, 70% of which is determined by consumer spending.
Total household debt is nearing pre-recession levels, reports CNBC finance editor Jeff Cox.