Arvest Newsroom

Regional Consumers Report Debt Patterns, Savings Rates In Line With Neighbors
Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey Measures Respondents’ Spending and Savings

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Aug. 26, 2014) – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma reported having similar debts and approximate savings rates as their neighbors, according to final information released today from the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey.

The results of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, conducted in June and July of 2014, are released in three sections. The first presents an overall Index of consumer optimism of the economy of the state and region, while the second includes a Current Conditions Index and a Consumer Expectations Index as measured by questions about anticipated future changes in economic conditions. This, the third release, presents information about consumer debt and savings. The survey and indexes follow the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan.

Consumer debt within the region was divided among several categories and all measured approximately the same types of debt. Within the region, consumer debt was divided among these categories: 37 percent reported mortgage debt, 6 percent reported home equity debt, 28 percent reported auto loans, 31 percent reported credit card debt and 11 percent reported student loans. About one-third of the region’s respondents, 33 percent, reported having no current consumer debt.

A majority of responding consumers, 61 percent, reported they have not made major household purchases in the past six months. The state-by-state breakdown is as follows: Arkansas (65 percent), Missouri (62 percent) and Oklahoma (57 percent). Major household purchases were defined as furniture, a television, refrigerator or other large items.

When it comes to reported savings rates, consumers within the region reported they are saving 11.6 percent of their earnings. Families with incomes of more than $75,000 reported saving 16.5percent, while families with incomes of less than $75,000 reported saving 9.8 percent. Families with children reported saving 10.2 percent and families without children reported saving 11.6 percent. The overall savings rate for Arkansas is 9.5 percent, while Missouri is at 11.7 percent and Oklahoma 13.1 percent.

Arkansas respondents are the most interested in increasing their savings rate over the next six months, with 23 percent stating they plan to save more over that period. In both Oklahoma and Missouri 15 percent of respondents are interested in increasing their savings rate over the next six months. The regional rate is 17 percent. The majority of respondents plan to keep its current savings rates over the next six months.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. These first results give better, more localized, information than has been available in the past. Because consumers drive the majority of economic activity, it is important to simply know where people in the region stand in their views. Additionally, with future results, consumers and the business community, will be able to see if sentiment is trending up or down with sentiment nationally.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in November. Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

About Our Research Partners

The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.

The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.

The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.

The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.

About Arvest Bank

Arvest Bank operates more than 260 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a network of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board of directors and management team. These banks serve customers in 120 communities with 12-hour weekday banking at most locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an equal housing lender and member FDIC.