WASHINGTON – A report from the American Bankers Association has found that consumers’ credit card delinquencies, in terms of percentage of total balances outstanding and the number of accounts more than 30 days delinquent fell to its lowest point in ten years for a fourth quarter. Based on the number of credit card accounts, 4.20% (seasonally adjusted) were overdue in the fourth quarter, a decrease from 4.26% in the third quarter. Additionally, past-due payments on home equity lines of credit – the lowest delinquency rate category – decreased to 0.33% from 0.38%. ABA chief economist James Chessen cited bright spots in the overall economic picture that lead to the improvements in the fourth quarter of 2004. “Strong job growth combined with rising incomes and wealth throughout 2004 made it easier for consumers to make timely loan payments in the fourth quarter.” We are optimistic that consumers will continue to effectively manage their financial obligations despite higher gas prices and the Federal Reserve’s plans to continue raising interest rates,” Chessen said.

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