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Card-issuing banks saw their card delinquencies rise in the forth quarter of 2008, but not as much many thought they would, according to the American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said the figures are the latest sign that the U.S. economy is experiencing the worst recession since the mid 1970s.“Clearly, we are seeing a rapid economic decline in all regions and in most business sectors,” Chessen said. “It’s a steeper downslide than in previous recessions because consumers are saving more and spending less.”Credit card delinquencies increased from 4.20% to 4.52% but remain near the four-year average of 4.47%. Chessen said the ability of cardholders to adjust their monthly payments-unlike other loans with fixed payments-has helped keep credit card delinquencies relatively stable.Home equity loan delinquencies also rose 40 basis points to 3.03% of accounts, setting a new record. Home equity lines of credit delinquencies also reached a new record, rising 31 basis points to 1.46%. Every category saw rising delinquencies except mobile home loans. The ABA report defined delinquency as a payment 30 days or more overdue.–dmorrison@cutimes.com

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