NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- There are encouraging signs that Americans are making headway on their collective debt, including a report from CreditForecast.com showing consumer debt delinquency on the decline.
According to CreditForecast.com, 30 day consumer credit delinquencies are “back to pre-recession” levels.
The aggregate rate is 2.8 percentage points below its peak of January 2010, and 1.1 percentage points below its year-earlier level. Declines in delinquency rates for mortgages and auto loans contributed the most to the overall improvement.
A recent report showed that car buyers are catching up on their car and truck payments, primarily due to improved trade-in values and a moderately improving economy.
With outstanding balances outside of mortgages rising because of car and student loans, and consumers acquiring more credit cards but still reluctant to use them, the real story is the reduction in credit card delinquencies, especially as consumer use of plastic increases.
According to Cristian De Ritis, director of consumer credit economics at CreditForecast, which is a joint venture of Equifax and Moody's Analytics, credit card “failure to pay” rates are down from 3.4% to 3.2% from March to April, with rates on retail credit cards especially in decline (down 30 basis points on a month-to-month basis).
“The delinquency rates on bank and retail cards fell to record lows again in April after having moved sideways for much of 2011,” noted De Ritis in the report.
The improvement in paying off debt also suggests card balances will look better throughout the year.
“The decline in bankcard balances slowed to a 1.3% year-over-year rate in April from 1.5% in March, a reduction of $1.5 billion. If that pace of deceleration persists, outstanding balances will show year-over-year growth by the end of the second quarter. Balances on retail credit cards have been growing since October and posted a robust 3.8% year-earlier growth rate in April.”
It almost feels like 2005 again.