The U.S. consumer delinquencies dipped in the third quarter of 2012, with bank card delinquencies falling to an 18-year low as consumers strengthened their financial base amid economic uncertainty, according to a report released Thursday by American Bankers Association (ABA).
The ABA said that during the quarter bank card delinquencies dropped to their lowest levels since 1994, falling 18 basis points to 2.75 percent of all accounts and well below the 15-year average of 3.89 percent.
The composite ratio, which tracks delinquencies in eight closed- end installment loan categories, dropped 8 basis points to 2.16 percent of all accounts in the third quarter, below the 15-year average of 2.40 percent. The ABA defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue.
The delinquencies of personal loan and two other loan categories decreased to different extent. However, direct auto loan delinquencies rose from 0.92 percent to 0.95 percent. Meanwhile, home equity loan delinquencies rose from 4.09 percent to 4.20 percent.
ABA's chief economist James Chessen attributed the improvement to consumers' ongoing efforts to better manage their finances. " Consumers are paying close attention to their finances as they continue to pay down debt in an uncertain economy," said Chessen.
As the "fiscal cliff" negotiation came to the end recently, the expiration of the payroll tax cut will put increased pressure on consumers, noted Chessen.
The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes in the U.S. and is the voice for the nation's 14 trillion U.S. dollars banking industry and its two million employees.