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More past due on home equity lines

Business Briefing / LOANS

July 03, 2008|From Times Wire Services

Consumers fell behind on loans secured by their homes at the fastest pace in two decades in the first quarter, signaling deeper distress in the U.S. economy, the American Bankers Assn. reported.

Home equity lines of credit at least 30 days past due rose 0.14 of a percentage point to 1.1% of accounts for the quarter, the Washington trade group said. Delinquent credit card accounts increased to 4.51%, the highest level since 2006.

"People are looking for any source of funds to pay their daily expenses," Carol Kaplan, spokeswoman for the bankers' group, said in an interview Tuesday.

Consumers squeezed by higher food and fuel prices are tapping revolving credit lines to stay afloat as the economy slows.

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