WASHINGTON -- The portion of consumers with payments overdue on credit cards, auto loans and other debt dropped in the first three months of the year to the lowest level since 2007, according to the American Bankers Assn.
Overall, the percentage of consumer loans that were at least 30 days overdue dropped to 2.35% in the January-through-March period, down from 2.49% in the last quarter of 2012. It was the best performance since the second quarter of 2007, and put consumer delinquencies below the 15-year average of 2.4%, the group said.
At the worst point during the Great Recession and its aftermath, about 3.35% of consumer loans were overdue.
"Consumers have done a remarkable job getting their finances under control,” said James Chessen, chief economist for the ABA. “Overall debt levels have declined dramatically and savings continues to grow. This means many consumers have more capacity to absorb a financial shock, and that’s a good place to be."
The group's quarterly Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin tracks overdue payments in 11 categories. Ten of those categories showed improvements in the first quarter, which Chessen said was remarkable given the sharp increase in gas prices in the first three months of the year.