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CREDIT CARD DEFAULTS REACH A RECORD HIGH

CREDIT CARD DEFAULTS REACH A RECORD HIGH

Credit card loans considered uncollectible and delinquent have reached record levels.   Debts considered uncollectible and written off have reached an 8.6% annual rate in March, up from 5.3% from a year earlier.   Delinquent loans hit 6.0%.    American Express charge-off rate rose to 8.5% and Capital One Financial’s to 8.4% rate.  Rising defaults may well hinder attempts by the Federal Reserve to get credit flowing to consumers because lenders traditionally pull back when faced with mounting losses.  In recent months, Bank of America, Citigroup and other credit card issuers have closed unused accounts, pulled in credit lines and raised fees and rates.  The loan portfolios of the top six credit card issuers fell at a 1.9% annual rate in the first quarter. Outstanding credit card debt has dropped by $21.0 billion since last September, a result of a lack of desire to lend and reduced demand from consumers to borrow.

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