All eight loan categories experienced increased delinquencies during the fourth quarter, a rare occurrence. The ABA report defines delinquency as late payments that are 30 days or more overdue.
James Chessen, ABA chief economist, attributed the rise largely to auto loan delinquencies. The auto loan category comprises about two-thirds of all closed-end consumer installment loans. In addition, the number of delinquent bank card accounts rose 20 basis points to 4.38 percent, but remains close to the five-year average of 4.40 percent.
"The rise in consumer credit delinquencies is consistent with a rapidly slowing economy," Chessen said. "Stress in the housing market still dominates the story but it's a broader tale of an overall weak economy."
Delinquencies for home equity lines of credit — the lowest delinquency rate category — rose 12 basis points to 0.96 percent.
The fourth quarter composite ratio is made up of the following closed-end loans. All figures are seasonally adjusted based upon the number of accounts.
- Home equity loan delinquencies increased to 2.39 percent from 2.28 percent.
- Property improvement loan delinquencies increased to 1.81 percent from 1.60 percent.
- Indirect auto loan delinquencies increased to 3.13 percent from 2.86 percent.
- Direct auto loan delinquencies increased to 1.90 percent from 1.81 percent.
- Personal loan delinquencies increased to 2.48 percent from 2.29 percent.
- Mobile home loan delinquencies increased to 2.92 percent from 2.87 percent.
- Marine loan delinquencies increased to 1.57 percent from 1.30 percent.
- Recreational vehicle loan delinquencies increased to 1.08 percent from 0.89 percent.
"No relief for consumers is in sight as food and gas prices remain stubbornly high and income growth is anemic," Chessen said.