Delinquencies on credit cards, other loans rise in latest ABA report

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Delinquencies on certain consumer loans and credit cards provided by banks ticked up in the first quarter but still remained at safe levels.

A composite ratio that tracks delinquencies across eight closed-end installment loan categories totaled 1.73% in the first quarter, according to data from the American Bankers Association. That is 9 basis points higher than the fourth quarter but still well below the 15-year average of 2.14%, according to the ABA.

The composite includes delinquencies for direct and indirect auto, home equity, marine, mobile home, personal loan, property improvement and RV loans. The report defines a delinquency as a payment that is at least 30 days overdue.

“Delinquencies have been so low for so long that it is not surprising to see them ease back toward more normal levels,” ABA’s chief economist James Chessen said in a press release on Tuesday. “More jobs and better wages continue to be the key factors in keeping delinquencies low, and the economic fundamentals remain positive.”

Credit card delinquencies rose to 3.06% in the first quarter, 60 basis points higher than a quarter earlier, but still below the 15-year average of 3.56%.

“Bank card delinquencies have been near historical lows for five years as consumers have done a great job managing their levels of debt,” Chessen said.

The ratio of credit card debt to disposable income in the first quarter this year was 5.5%, only two-thirds of the pre-recession level, according to the ABA data.

Chessen said he expects delinquency levels to follow the general economy as consumers remain financially responsible. The national unemployment rate was 4% in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Banks will continue a conservative approach to credit extension, and we hope that consumers will maintain their vigilant efforts to manage debt and ensure they can handle the economic conditions, year in and year out,” Chessen said.

Roxanne Liu

Roxanne Liu is working as a summer intern at American Banker. She is currently studying at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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