At the end of the first quarter, about 14% of 401(k) participants had outstanding loans. The percentage fell steadily throughout last year after edging up to 16.3% in the year-ago period from 16.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Percentage of 401(k) participants with loans dropping
The loan rate was well below the over 18% seen in the wake of the Great Recession. It rose to that level in 2010 from about 15% at the end of 2008. The portion of participants with outstanding loans stayed at that elevated level for the next several years. It started falling in 2014 and declined annually through the end of last year.