"As banks pull back on risk taking across the nation, consumer-loan balances in places like Huntsville, Ala., are rising. In Huntsville, a metropolitan area of 376,000 that is home to many government contractors, borrowing increased 13.2% per household in last year's fourth quarter, compared with the year-earlier period, according to data provided to The Wall Street Journal by Moody's Economy.com and Equifax Inc.
Huntsville's increase was the largest among 207 U.S. metropolitan areas tracked by the two data-gathering firms. Similar-size cities such as McAllen and Brownsville, Texas; Yakima, Wash; Provo, Utah, and Lafayette, La., also saw consumer-loan balances rise by more than 8% year-over-year." -By DAN FITZPATRICK