February 04, 2014 09:30 ET

Hearst's Finds Americans' Overall Loan Debt Decreased in 2013

On Average, Consumers Are Carrying Smaller Mortgage and Student Loan Balances But Higher Auto Loans Entering 2014

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Feb 4, 2014) - Manilla, the leading, free and secure digital mailbox service that allows consumers to manage their bills and other personal accounts on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, today released its latest quarterly report on loans in the United States. The report examines the student, mortgage and auto loan debt of Manilla users, both nationally and by individual market, as of Jan. 1, 2014, providing a snapshot of how the country closed out the last year. Overall, the average debt held by Manilla users across the nation decreased by 4 percent over the course of 2013, from $183,966.62 at the end of 2012 to $176,635.20.

"There are a number of factors at play when considering why overall debt is lower going into 2014, including the fact that we've seen a steady drop in unemployment throughout the year, from 7.9 percent nationwide at the end of January 2013 to 6.7 percent at the end of December," said Jim Schinella, CEO of Manilla. "Improved employment equates to more people having funds to pay down existing debt. Additionally, while Manilla users show some increase in student loan debt for Q4, it is not comparable to the growth that occurred nationwide. This is possibly due to Manilla users already having a higher concentration of post-secondary education, combined with our single dashboard view that keeps spending capacity more tangible and present on people's minds. And while overall debt decreased between January 2013 and January 2014, we did see a slight increase in mortgages in Q4 of last year, pointing to the fact that consumer confidence continued to increase as we entered the new year."

Student Loans
As of Jan. 1, 2014, Manilla users were carrying an average of $14,411.07 in student loans. This is 3.3 percent higher than Manilla's Oct. 1, 2013 report, but 6.75 percent lower than the national average at the close of 2012 ($15,455).

The worst debt offenders for student loans as of Jan. 1, 2014 are:

1. Memphis, Tenn.: $18,765.08
2. Baton Rouge, La.: $18,731.55
3. Albany, N.Y.: $18,380.43
4. Washington, D.C.: $17,803.29
5. Shreveport, La.: $17,631.45
6. Jackson, Miss.: $17,487.74
7. Atlanta: $17,338.77
8. Las Vegas: $17,000.24
9. Richmond, Va.: $16,959.34
10. Spokane, Wash.: $16,644.34

Spokane, Wash., makes its debut into the top 10 this quarter, replacing Chicago for the No. 10 spot. Additionally, Atlanta residents lowered their average student debt by 2.4 percent in Q4, dropping the city from the No. 3 to the No. 7 spot. This can likely be attributed to increased employment in Georgia throughout the quarter; unemployment in the state dropped from 8.3 percent at the end of Q3 to 7.4 percent at the end of Q4.

Mortgage debt declined overall in 2013; the national average dropped nearly 5 percent from $156,345.20 as of Jan.1, 2013 to $148,960.99 as of Jan. 1, 2014.

The worst debt offenders for mortgages as of January 1, 2014 are:

1. San Francisco: $314,552.56
2. San Diego: $258,706.99
3. Los Angeles: $258,539.57
4. New York: $247,519.49
5. Washington, D.C.: $222,836.16
6. Seattle-Tacoma: $194,279.01
7. Boston: $182,580.84
8. Sacramento, Calif.: $178,426.00
9. Baltimore: $175,960.06
10. Charleston, S.C.: $173,575.64

Charleston made its debut on the list this quarter, likely due to a steep decline in unemployment (from 7.9 to 6.6 percent over the quarter) that resulted in the ability of more residents to purchase homes. It replaced Portland for the No. 10 spot.

Auto Loans
Americans ended 2013 carrying 9 percent more auto loan debt than they did at the close of 2012. This is in line with rising auto sales nationwide -- AutoNation, the country's largest automotive retailer, reported an 11 percent increase in new vehicle unit sales in 2013 -- and can be attributed to more disposable income overall, as the national jobless rate declined more than a full percent over the course of 2013 (from 7.9 percent in January to 6.7 percent in December). However, the average auto loan balance dropped ten percent in Q4 2013, after rising in every other quarter of the year. This is in line with slower auto sales during winter months and possibly also points to consumer desire to end the year with less debt.

The worst debt offenders for auto loans as of Jan.1, 2014, are:

1. Odessa-Midland, Texas: $19,187.59
2. Harlingen, Texas: $18,471.58
3. Shreveport, La.: $18,406.50
4. New Orleans: $17,682.27
5. Houston: $17,310.55
6. New York: $17,263.98
7. San Antonio: $17,098.97
8. Huntsville-Decatur, Fla.: $17,063.88
9. Lafayette, La.: $17,022.48
10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale: $16,821.31

New to the list are Odessa-Midland, Harlingen and Huntsville-Decatur, which replaced Little Rock, Ark., Las Vegas and Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa., in the top 10. Seven of the 10 markets with the highest auto loans are now found in Texas or Louisiana, both of which saw significant declines in unemployment in Q4 2013. Texas unemployment dropped from 6.3 percent to 6.0 percent in that timeframe, while Louisiana unemployment dropped from 6.8 percent to 5.7 percent.

Manilla, which was recently named a Best Financial App of 2014 and included on Kiplinger's Personal Finance's 2013 Best of Everything List, offers a platform that provides convenient, secure online access to all household accounts and services for more than 3,500 businesses. The free service helps consumers manage all of their household accounts, including financial accounts, utilities, subscriptions, daily deals and travel rewards programs, all through or via the Manilla Android or iOS mobile apps.

About Manilla
Manilla organizes and simplifies people's lives by providing one secure access point to all household accounts and services. The free digital mailbox service helps consumers manage and share their mail and household accounts, including financial and brokerage, utility, travel, entertainment, subscription and healthcare accounts all through Consumers can also use all of the Manilla features on the go by using Manilla's 4+ star customer-rated Android and iOS mobile apps. Under a single password, Manilla gives customers an automated, organized view of all of their account information, text and email reminders to pay bills, renew expiring subscriptions, and manage soon-to-expire daily deals, all with unlimited storage and seamless document retrieval.

Manilla is a company incubated within and backed by Hearst Corporation. Manilla is the recipient of the Webby Award and People's Voice Award for Best Banking/Bill Pay Service and was chosen as one of 10 best financial apps of 2014 by CNBC, as one of Google Play's Editors' Choice Picks in 2014, as a top service on Kiplinger's Personal Finance's 2013 Best of Everything List, and as one of Money Magazine's "Top Money Apps." For more information, please visit

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