U.S. consumers continued to pay down debt in the first quarter of 2013 as household wealth rose above its pre-recession peak, the American Bankers Association said on Tuesday.
A composite ratio, which tracks delinquency rates for eight loan categories, fell to 1.7 percent of all accounts from 1.99 percent the
prior quarter, well below the 15-year average of 2.37 percent. Of the eight categories, only mobile home delinquencies rose.
Delinquencies on bank card payments, which are not part of the composite, fell to 2.41 percent during the quarter, a 22-year low.
"Many consumers have learned the hard lessons of recession, and have redoubled their efforts to keep debt at manageable levels," ABA's chief economist, James Chessen, said in a statement.
In addition, rising home and stock prices are creating a wealth effect that gives consumers a greater ability to pay down their debt, he said.