Major financial institutions have reported improvements in credit card defaults and late payment rates, indicating that customer credit card payments may be getting under control.
Three of the top six credit card-issuing banks reported declines in default rates, and four reported drops in delinquencies.? The others reported small upticks in both, but the mixed reports point to a steady decline in defaults and delinquencies overall.
Citigroup reported a drop in delinquencies by 2.8 percentage points ? from 6.06 percent in March 2010 to only 3.26 percent today.? Discover Financial Services reported delinquencies on only 2.48 percent of balances ? its lowest rate since December 2006.? Industry-leader American Express Co. reported a 0.01 percentage point uptick in its delinquency rate to 1.5 percent, but that was still much lower than it reported in early 2007.
American Express also reported the lowest default rate in the business, 2.7 percent, while Discover reported 3.26 percent, and Capitol One Financial Corp. reported 3.96 percent.? All the other major issuers reported higher rates, including Bank of America (5.98 percent), Citibank (5.66 percent) and Chase (4.18 percent) ? but those rates were only half of what they were a year and a half ago.
The results seem to have broken the downward trend, a sign that customers may be returning to more normal seasonal patterns that preceded the 2008 Financial Meltdown.