U.S. Consumers Paid Down Debt -- On Time -- in 2011
Press release from the issuing company
Monday, January 30th, 2012
In 2011, U.S. consumers were much more diligent in paying against their debts, resulting in significant declines in delinquency rates among the majority of tracked lending sectors in Equifax's December National Credit Trends Report.
U.S. consumers weren't just doing a better job of paying their bills on time in 2011; the data also reflects a cumulative decline in total consumer debt, which now stands at $11.1 trillion. This represents a nearly 11% decline in debt from its peak of $12.4 trillion in October 2008.
Most tracked lending sectors reported double digit declines in delinquency rates for 2011. Key findings from the report include:
Bank Credit Card
The greatest improvement year-over-year (versus 2010 levels) was within the Bank Credit Card lending sector, where 60+ days past due delinquencies declined by 29%. As delinquency rates continue to improve, Bank Credit Card issuers have loosened lending standards and from January-October 2011, there was a 48% increase in new bank credit cards issued to subprime borrowers (those with Equifax credit scores below 660). In October 2011 (headed into the holiday retail season), monthly subprime bank credit card originations were up 22% over October 2010 levels.
Auto Finance 60+ days past due rates declined by 19% and Auto Bank 60+ days past due declined by 23% in 2011. Auto loan amount totals were also on the rise with more than $30 billion in new auto loans originated in October 2011. That total is almost equally split between Auto Finance ($15.9 billion) and Auto Bank ($15.7 billion).
Consumer Finance 60+ days past due rates declined by 23%, and Consumer Finance loan originations (January-October 2011), were up by 5% -- the first increase in 3 years.
2011 First Mortgage (30+ days past due rates declined by 13%) and Home Equity Installment (30+ days past due rates declined by 10%). While not quite as large a decline, Home Equity Revolving 30+ past due demonstrated improvement as well, with a 7% reduction in 2011. While Home Equity delinquency rates were better for the year, Home Equity origination rates continue to be down, with declines recorded for both the number of home equity loans originated and average loan amount -- extending a 5-year slide.
Retail Credit Card
Retail Credit Card (60+ days past due rates were down 15%) for 2011 and on the origination side, a 4-year declining trend was reversed as the number of new retail credit cards originated between January-October 2011 (26.8 million cards total) increased by 7%.
The exception among 2011 lending sectors was Student Loan 60+ days past due, which did not decline, but actually increased by 1% over 2010 delinquency levels. However, through October 2011, the industry is experiencing 3 consecutive years of increases in the number of student loans originated.
"The improvement in 2011 delinquency data, paired with consistent growth in loan originations in multiple sectors, provides truly positive momentum for the industry as we begin a new year," said Michael Koukounas, Senior Vice President Analytics for Equifax. "More than 63% of all past due balances are from loans originated between 2005 and 2007, and as the industry continues to isolate and manage those vintages, I would expect to see continued improvement in delinquency rates as a result."