ABA: U.S. Consumer Loan Delinquency Levels Continue to Improve

Consumers Continue to Pay Down Debt

FBN's Diane Macedo breaks down the ABA report on consumer loan delinquencies.

It looks like Americans are getting better at managing their debt.

Continue Reading Below

The American Bankers Association said based on a composite ratio that tracks eight different loan categories, 1.7% of accounts were delinquent in the first quarter of 2013, down from 1.99% the prior quarter and well below the 15-year average of 2.37%. Of the eight categories, only mobile home delinquencies increased.

Bank card delinquencies, which are not part of the composite, also fell 6 basis points to 2.41% of all accounts – a 22-year low and well below the 15-year average of 3.87%, according to the association's Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin that was released today.

In fact, delinquency rates fell for 11 of the 13 loan categories the banking group tracks.

"Many consumers have learned the hard lessons of recession, and have redoubled their efforts to keep debt at manageable levels," ABA's chief economist, James Chessen, said in a statement.

According to the Bulletin, household wealth also rose above its pre-recession peak, something Chessen attributes at least in part to rising home prices and rallying markets.

Continue Reading Below

But he added, "While this improvement is encouraging, it will take a long time for delinquencies to work their way through the system and return to more normal levels."

The ABA defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue.

What do you think?

Click the button below to comment on this article.