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FICO: Consumer credit conditions to worsen in coming months

Oct 05, 2011 Todd Milner

Bankers and risk management professionals are increasingly wary of consumer credit, as uncertain economic conditions continue to rack market confidence. A survey released this week by ratings agency FICO found bankers expect delinquencies on consumer loans to rise, underwriting standards to become stricter and the housing sector to struggle for the next several years. As for consumer credit, bankers expect delinquencies on auto loans, credit cards and student loans to rise, even as they've fallen in recent months on weak consumer spending. Specifically, 30 percent of respondents expect auto delinquencies to increase. That figure rises to 40 percent for credit card debt and 48 percent for student credit debt. Bankers also expect credit conditions to worsen among small businesses - usually the country's top job creators. "Small businesses have traditionally been providers of much-needed jobs during economic recoveries," said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO. "But the tight credit conditions facing small businesses today make it difficult for them to invest and expand. Rather than something to be counted on, the notion of small business job creation seems, for the moment at least, aspirational."