Despite their importance, data capturing total credit to the private non-financial sector are scarce. This article introduces a new BIS database that provides this information for 40 economies with, on average, more than 45 years of quarterly data, reaching back to the 1940s and 1950s in some cases. It explains the key concepts underlying the compilation of the new series, including a description of the high-level statistical criteria applied, the characteristics of the underlying series used and the statistical techniques employed. For illustration purposes, some facets of the historical evolution of total credit are explored, revealing interesting similarities and differences across countries.
JEL classification: C82, E51