Consumers Late payers of most of the loan since recession

January 4, 2008

Americans are falling further behind on consumer loans, with late payments rising to the highest level since the nation’s last recession in 2001, data released Thursday show.In its quarterly study of consumer borrowing, the American Bankers Association said the percentage of loans at least 30 days past due rose to 2.44 percent in the July-to-September period from 2.27 percent in the previous quarter.

The delinquency rate, which covers eight loan categories, was the highest since a 2.51 percent rate in the second quarter of 2001. Late payments on some types of loans rose to levels not seen since the 1990s.

The ABA attributed some of the summer increase to rising oil prices and the inability of thousands of homeowners to keep up with mortgage payments.

“Those little expenses that keep sucking dollars out of wallets every month are what have the most impact on people’s ability to pay their consumer loans,” Chief Economist James Chessen said in an interview.

“My concern is that delinquencies will continue to rise, because the housing problem will worsen, and disposable income will not stretch as far,” he added. “Lenders will need to take a second or third look at any consumer loans they make.” Reuters Reports

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