WASHINGTON – The American Bankers Association has reported that credit card delinquencies have continued to drop as consumers draw down the card debt in the face of rising expenses, such as gasoline prices. “That’s three in a row,” said James Chessen, ABA’s chief economist. “Credit card loan delinquencies are down for the third consecutive quarter – the lowest they have been in more than two years.” Based on the number of credit card accounts, 4.03% (seasonally adjusted) were overdue in the first quarter of this year, a decrease from 4.20% in the fourth quarter of 2004. Chessen noted that despite the 25% increase in gas prices during the first quarter, it has been a good environment for consumers to meet their financial obligations. Employment and income growth, combined with historically low interest rates, have balanced out the strain that higher gas prices placed on household budgets. Overall, I’d say consumers are managing debt well,” Chessen said. The ABA reported that delinquencies on personal loans, direct auto loans, recreational vehicle loans, mobile home loans and marine loans were down. Loan delinquencies on indirect auto loans, home improvement loans and property improvement loans were up.

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