Consumer Payment Card News

Delinquency Improves

Credit card delinquency, based on total dollars outstanding, hit a ten-year low last year for a fourth quarter. Between 1995 and 2003, fourth quarter delinquency ranged between 4.25% and 5.45%, but dropped to 4.19% for 4Q/04. Based on the number of accounts 30+ days past due, delinquency dropped to 4.20%, the lowest of the past five quarters. The historical decline in delinquency and the rapid drop-off in bankruptcy filings over the past year point to improved metrics for card issuers in 2005. However, the sluggish growth in credit card debt since 2001 and the rising cost of funds may dampen profitability this year. According to the American Bankers Association’s latest “Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin,” delinquencies improved in the fourth quarter in every consumer loan category. The ABA noted that it has not seen an across-the-board decline in delinquencies since 1983.

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