Credit card delinquencies improve despite economic chill

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 U.S. consumers managed to improve their on-time payment record with credit cards during the first three months of 2015, despite a shrinking economy, according to the American Bankers Association.

Delinquencies on bank-issued credit cards fell slightly to 2.49 percent of all accounts in the first quarter, from 2.52 percent. The bankers' group counts missed payments more than 30 days overdue as a delinquency.

"Delinquencies for credit cards have remained remarkably stable at historically low rates," ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said in a statement. Over the past 15 years, the average delinquency rate was 3.76 percent.

The economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the first quarter, as measured by gross domestic product. Consumers' ability to shrug off the downturn and continue improving their financial footing "speaks to sustained consumer discipline as Americans continue to use and manage their debt responsibly," Chessen said.

Balances on revolving credit lines -- mainly credit cards -- rose a scant 0.4 percent annualized during the quarter, according to the Federal Reserve.

Consumers maintained discipline in other forms of debt. The ABA's composite ratio of consumer loan delinquencies fell one basis point to 1.53 percent of accounts, compared to a 15-year average of 2.28 percent. The quarter saw significant drops in home equity loan and home equity line delinquencies.

Bank card delinquencies remain near 15‐year lows

See related: Fed: May credit card balances rise again

Published: July 30, 2015

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