Downward debt trend hits 10 quarters

Aug. 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The New York Federal Reserve Bank said Wednesday that U.S. consumers continued a trend of relying less on credit in the second quarter of the year.

In a quarterly Household Debt and Credit report, the bank said aggregate consumer debt dropped by $78 billion in the quarter, "continuing the longer-term downward trend," the bank said.

At the end of the second quarter, total indebtedness dropped to $11.15 trillion, down 0.7 percent from the end of the first quarter and well below the peak of $12.68 trillion, which was reached at the end of the third quarter of 2008.

Consumer debt is now at its lowest point since 2006, the report said.

Mortgage loans, which make up the largest category of consumer loans, fell by $91 billion to $7.84 trillion in the quarter. Home equity loans in the aggregate dropped by $12 billion or 2.2 percent to $540 billion.

Debt not related to housing rose by 0.9 percent with a $20 billion increase in car loans, an $8 billion increase in student loans and an $8 billion increase in credit card loans.

Meanwhile, delinquency rates were markedly lower.

At the end of the quarter, 7.6 percent of outstanding loans were in some stage of delinquency, down from 8.1 percent in the first quarter.

There were also improved numbers in loans that moved from delinquent to seriously delinquent -- bills that moved from up to 60 days late to up to 90 days late or more -- which fell to 19.8 percent. The so-called cure rate that measures loans that go from delinquent on payments to current on payments rose to 35.8 percent.

Bankruptcy notations added to credit reports, subsequently, dropped by 4.8 percent from the second quarter of 2012.

It was the 10th consecutive quarter in which the bankruptcy notations fell compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the bank said.

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