Consumers Shed $1 Trillion of Debt From 2008 Peak

Consumer debt continued to fall in the third quarter, but at a slower pace than previous quarters.

The New York Federal Reserve reports that in the last two years, consumers have reduced their debt load by $1 trillion, or 7.4 percent, but it's not clear whether it's a result of banks tightening their credit standards, or consumers voluntarily changing their spending habits.

Mortgages made up the bulk -- 74 percent -- of consumers' total outstanding debt, which stands at $11.6 trillion, while home equity lines of credit, car loans and credit cards each made up 6 percent of that total. By the end of the third quarter, 11.1 percent of all debt was in some stage of delinquency, down from 11.6 percent a year ago.

California had the largest debt balance per capita -- about $75,000 per person -- followed by Nevada, New Jersey and Arizona. In New York, Florida and Illinois total outstanding debt per capita stood at about $50,000, closely in line with the national average.

The report, which was published Monday, also says nationwide nearly 460,000 consumers received foreclosure notices from July 1 to September 30 this year, 6.4 percent fewer from a year ago, while the number of new bankruptcies rose slightly at 1 percent.