U.S. consumer credit card charge-off and delinquency rates fell once again in October as recession-related credit card losses continued to abate, according to new data Moody’s Investors Service released this week.
The average charge-off rate on outstanding credit card receivables in October was 8.79%, down 11 basis points from 8.9% in September and down 125 basis points from 10.05%, its level a year ago. Charge-off rates peaked during the recession at 11.2% in January of this year, Moody’s says.
The delinquency rate in October on credit card accounts at least 60 days past due was 4.51%, down 14 basis points from 4.65% in September and down 174 basis points from 6.25% a year ago. October marked the 12th consecutive month of lower credit card delinquencies, Moody’s says.
Additionally Moody’s in late November revised its outlook for the U.S. securitized credit cards sector to “stable” from “negative,” based on the card industry’s recent improving trends.
“As the economy emerges from recession, important economic drivers of credit card performance, in particular, employment, have stabilized,” Matias Langer, Moody’s assistant vice president, said in a statement.
Langer cautioned that if the economy slips back into recession - a condition for which Moody’s speculates there is a one in four chance - card portfolio performance would likely begin to deteriorate again. But if present economic trends continue, Moody’s expects charge-off and delinquency rates to continue to improve, “falling below 7% in the coming year,” Langer said.