Yet more signs of consumer stress. From Bloomberg:
Consumers fell behind on loans secured by their homes at the fastest pace in two decades in the first quarter, signaling deeper distress in the U.S. economy, the American Bankers Association reported.
Home-equity lines of credit at least 30 days past due rose 14 basis points to 1.1 percent of accounts for the quarter, the Washington-based group said today in a statement. Delinquent credit-card accounts increased 13 basis points to 4.51 percent, the highest level since 2006.
“People are looking for any source of funds to pay their daily expenses,” Carol Kaplan, spokeswoman for the bankers’ group, said yesterday in an interview. “It’s a sign of the overall condition of the economy that people are having trouble making their payments….
The rise in delinquent home-equity accounts was the biggest since the ABA began collecting data in 1987, Kaplan said. It was also the highest in 11 years. Delinquencies often don’t peak until late in an economic slowdown.
ABA chief economist James Chessen said in the statement that because of job losses, slow income growth and falling real estate and equity markets, there is “little relief” in the coming months.