Consumer delinquencies, which were already at relatively low levels, fell even further in the second quarter of the year, according to a new report from the American Bankers Association.
Delinquencies on bank credit cards fell from 3.08% to 2.93%, according to the ABA. The results marked the first time that the rate has dipped below 3% in 11 years.
A composite ratio of late payments on closed-end loans, including auto loans, also declined in the second quarter — from 2.35% to 2.24%.
"Consumers are saving more and borrowing less as they work to pay down debt at a faster rate," ABA chief economist James Chessen said in a press release. "Economic uncertainty has made consumers hesitant to take on new debt, and building a stronger financial base has become a priority."
Card delinquencies have historically been linked to the national unemployment rate. But that trend has changed in recent years, as U.S. households have managed, in the aggregate, to repair their balance sheets in spite of the high jobless rate.
Despite the overall improvements, delinquency rates rose for certain categories of consumer debt, including second loans on consumers' residences.
Home equity loan delinquencies ticked up from 4% to 4.09% in the second quarter, and delinquencies on home equity lines of credit rose from 1.78% to 1.91%, according to the ABA.
"While the housing market appears to have turned a corner, we are many quarters away from seeing improvement filter through to reduce home-related delinquencies," Chessen said.
The ABA defines a delinquency as a payment that is 30 or more days overdue. Its delinquency rates are seasonally adjusted.