The percentage of consumer loans that are 30 days or more past due rose just a tiny bit from 3.22% at the end of last year to 3.23% at the end of March 2009, according to the American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. The delinquent balance on those accounts also went up from 3.16% to 3.35% of total balances that were due.
ABA chief economist James Chessen said the numbers are a natural consequence of building job losses in a weakening economy. “The number driver of delinquencies is job loss. When people lose their jobs, they can’t pay their bills. Delinquencies won’t improve until companies start hiring again and we see a significant economic turnaround.”
The ABA reported that delinquencies on credit card debt rose from 4.52% to 4.75% during the first three months of 2009. The balances on those delinquent accounts rose from 5.52% to a record setting 6.6% of the value of all outstanding bank card debt.