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ARLINGTON, Va.- The delinquency rates in credit card accounts held steady in the first quarter of 2001, breaking a 28-month trend of regular increases, according to a survey conducted by the American Bankers’ Association (ABA). Senior ABA Economist Keith Leggett attributed the decline to the “low interest environment of last year,” saying that consumers took advantage of low interest rates in home mortgages to refinance their houses and draw down credit card debt. At the end of the first quarter of 2002, 3.88% of all credit card accounts were overdue at least 30 days, the ABA reported. That was higher than the 2.99% in the first quarter of 2001, but unchanged from the fourth quarter. Although the rate of accounts in delinquency remained unchanged from the fourth quarter, the amount of money in those accounts declined slightly, the association reported. The fourth quarter of 2001 saw 4.67% of all credit card debt delinquent by at least 30 days. In the first quarter only 4.5% lagged. The association reported 4.13% of credit card debt was delinquent in the first quarter of 2001.

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