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TransUnion: Credit risk down for seventh consecutive quarter

Dec 03, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

Lenders may be able to loosen their credit decisions in coming months, as a new report shows consumer credit risk declined for the seventh straight quarter during the July-September period and offered further evidence of a gradually recovering economy. TransUnion's most recent Credit Risk Index decreased 4.9 percent from a year ago to reach 120.62. The figure is down from 121.22 points the month before, putting the CRI at a level not witnessed in the U.S. since the third quarter of 2008. The data suggests Americans have been diligent in paying off outstanding debt and maintaining relatively low delinquency levels on most of their credit obligations, TransUnion reports. "The lengthy, broad and steady decline in the Credit Risk Index, which reflects declines in consumer delinquency and debt levels, is beginning to show signs of a potential slow down," said Chet Wiermanski, global chief scientist at TransUnion. Small increases in consumer delinquency rates across all major categories - in addition to mild gains in existing credit card use and new credit demand - may contribute to a slowdown in the decline of the CRI over the next few quarters, Wiermanski added.