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Overall consumer delinquency rate declined in third quarter

Jan 14, 2012 Philip Burgess

Consumer delinquency rates were a mixed bag during the third quarter of 2011, according to data released this week by the American Bankers Association. The report found bank-card delinquencies - defined as payments at least 30 days past due - climbed to 3.25 percent, compared to 3.22 percent in the second quarter. Meanwhile, delinquencies on home-equity loans fell to 4.12 percent, down from 4.38 percent during the second quarter. The group's composite ratio, which measures overall delinquency rates across eight different categories, fell to 2.59 percent of all accounts in the third quarter, compared with 2.88 percent in the second. Analysts point to falling commodity prices and marked improvements in the labor market as driving the trend. A market-wide trend toward lower credit accumulation may also have been behind the improvement in home loan delinquencies. "Improvement in delinquencies over the next year hinges on the housing market, which still poses an enormous challenge to continued economic growth," said James Chessen, chief economist at the ABA, in a statement. Job creation and income growth are also a must if we hope to see delinquencies continue to fall."