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Consumer delinquencies fall in fourth quarter

The fourth quarter of 2017 saw a broad-based decline in delinquencies, with delinquencies in closed-end loans (like personal or auto loans) falling across the board and bank card delinquencies declining significantly, according to results from the American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.

Overall, delinquencies fell in 9 of the 11 individual consumer loan categories tracked by the association.

For the first time since early 2012, delinquencies fell in all eight closed-end loan categories. The ABA report defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue. “It’s rare to see delinquencies fall in nearly every category, and the levels continue to be very low by historical standards,” said James Chessen, the association’s chief economist.

“The steady creation of new jobs has been essential to keeping delinquencies low, and we’ve seen more than 10 million jobs filled in the past four years,” Chessen said. “Greater job stability and increased take-home pay have allowed consumers to make more purchases while keeping balances low, relative to their income.”

Delinquencies in bank cards (credit cards provided by banks) fell 16 basis points to 2.46 percent of all accounts, significantly below their 15-year average of 3.60 percent and the lowest quarter-end level in more than three years.

“Consumers are supported by a robust economy, and they continue to make judicious decisions when managing their debt levels,” Chessen said.

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