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Surprise! Credit card delinquencies fall

Daniel Ray

Maybe only some chunks of the sky are falling.

The American Bankers Association today released its quarterly study of consumer borrowing, and the percentage of loans in delinquency rose in several categories, including home equity loans, home improvement loans and auto loans made through dealers. In all, the level of late payments rose to a level not seen since the last recession in 2001.

The Association’s press release, however, highlighted the bright spot: Credit card payments showed a modest improvement. The level of delinquencies fell from 4.39 percent in the second quarter to 4.18 percent.

“Credit card holders continued to improve on-time payments during the third quarter despite obvious stress in the housing market,” said James Chessen, ABA chief economist. “Modest income and job growth helped ease consumers’ financial stress even as they worried how to pay for the rising costs of gas, food, and energy.”

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