Consumer loan delinquencies continue to rise
NEW YORK - Consumer loan delinquencies edged up to another record high in the first quarter, according to data released yesterday by the American Bankers Association.
A continued rise in unemployment has been the main culprit for the rise in delinquencies, the trade association said.
“The number one driver of delinquencies is job loss,’’ James Chessen, the ABA’s chief economist, said in a statement. “When people lose their jobs, they can’t pay their bills. Delinquencies won’t improve until companies start hiring again and we see a significant economic turnaround.’’
The composite delinquency rate rose to 3.23 percent in the January-March period, according to the ABA. The composite delinquency rate incorporates payment data on auto, personal, home equity, home improvement, recreational vehicle, mobile home, and marine loans.
That is the highest recorded since the ABA began tracking the rate in the mid 1970s and tops the previous record of 3.22 percent set in the last quarter of 2008.
The ABA said credit card delinquencies also moved higher, rising to 4.75 percent in the latest quarter from 4.52 percent in the fourth quarter last year. The credit card delinquency rate nearly reached the record high of 4.81 percent set in the second quarter of 2005.
The ABA defines a delinquent payment as one that is more than 30 days past due.