Credit unions' credit card balance declines mirror broader trend

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American consumers have paid down more than $118 billion in credit card debt so far this year, erasing all of last year’s gains in that sector, according to a new study from WalletHub.

The company’s data showed an 8.2% year-over-year decline in average household credit card debt at the end of the second quarter, dropping to a little more than $7,900, while total credit card debt was down 7.6%, to $934.8 billion.

The report noted that while paydowns are normal, the second quarter is the first time in over 30 years that credit card debt has declined between April and June. During the second quarter, outstanding credit card debt was down 6.7% compared with the previous three months.

WalletHub’s findings are in line with recent data from the National Credit Union Administration, which showed a 2.4% year-over-year decline in credit card balances at CUs, to a total of $60.9 billion at the end of June. Loan growth slowed in many major categories, but credit cards were the only area that showed a decline in balances.

Credit cards as a percentage of total assets have been slow to grow in recent quarters, according to NCUA data. That figure currently stands at 3.5%, down from 3.9% at the end of the first quarter and 4.2% at the end of last year.

WalletHub reported overall credit card charge-offs at the close of June stood at 4.04%, a 3.3% increase from the prior quarter.

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