Credit card delinquencies at lowest point in nearly two decades

Credit card delinquencies at lowest point in nearly two decades

8 Feb , 2013  

18-year low for bank card delinquencies

Consumer delinquencies fell in the third quarter (Q3) of 2012, led by a large drop in bank card delinquencies, the American Bankers Association (ABA) said in a recent report.

According to the ABA’s most recent Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin, Q3 delinquencies with bank credit cards dropped to 2.75 percent from 2.93 percent the previous quarter.

The 2.75 percent credit card delinquency rate is far below the 15-year average of 3.89 percent and is the lowest rate seen since 18 years earlier in 1994, the ABA noted.

“Consumers are paying close attention to their finances as they continue to pay down debt in an uncertain economy,” James Chessen, ABA’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The conservative approach consumers have taken to credit over the last several years has allowed them to better manage their debt and better position themselves for the future.”

The ABA also tracks a composite delinquency rate, which measures delinquencies (30 days or more overdue) across eight closed-end installment loan categories. The composite rate dropped to 2.16 percent in Q3, down from 2.24 percent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2012.

The 2.16 percent Q3 composite mark is below the 15-year average of 2.40 percent. Despite the improvement in the composite rate, however, improvement was not seen across all individual categories.

“The lack of broad-based improvement remains a cause for concern,” Chessen said. “Some categories have reached historical lows leaving little room for improvement.”

Additionally, two home loan types saw increased delinquency rates in Q3: Home equity loan delinquencies increased from 4.09 percent to 4.20 percent quarter-over-quarter, while home equity lines of credit delinquencies increased from 1.91 percent to 1.93 percent on a quarterly basis.

See also: Home equity loans vs. home equity lines of credit

“While there are strong signs that the housing market has turned a corner, it will take several quarters before delinquency numbers begin to reflect those trends,” Chessen said.

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