US credit card delinquencies fall in first quarter
Tue Jun 29, 2004
WASHINGTON, June 29 (Reuters) - U.S. credit card delinquencies dipped in the first quarter of the year as an improving economy created jobs and income, a trade association report showed on Tuesday.
The number of people past due on their credit card bills slid to 4.21 percent of all accounts in the first three months of 2004 from the record high of 4.43 percent in the last quarter of 2003, the American Bankers Association said.
But while the improved jobs picture and higher salaries have helped U.S. consumers pay their bills, rising costs may be a concern for some, ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said.
"While job growth is much improved, high gas prices may continue to put consumers in a financial pinch," Chessen said.
Consumer loan delinquencies showed improvement in most categories the bank group tracks.
A composite ratio of installment loans 30 days or more past due fell to 1.86 percent of all accounts from 1.89 percent, the ABA said.
Late payments on auto loans by banks fell to 2.27 percent from 2.36 percent in the quarter but rose to 1.56 percent from 1.55 percent for car loans through dealers or car companies.
Home equity loan delinquencies declined to 2.37 percent from 2.50 percent.
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