Consumers are increasingly paying down their debts, according to the American Bankers Association.

Delinquency rates in the fourth quarter of 2011 fell across all loan categories the trade group monitors, including credit cards, auto and home loans, the ABA reported on Thursday.

The trend builds on gains seen a quarter earlier, when delinquency rates fell across seven of the 11 categories the group tracks.

"You can't get a better consumer credit report card than this," ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said in a Thursday press release, adding that the ABA hasn't reported a quarter where every single loan category improved since 2004.

The ABA's composite ratio, which includes delinquency rates for eight closed-end installment loan categories, fell from 2.59% last quarter to 2.49%, the lowest rate since 2008. The ABA defines delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue. Delinquency rates are seasonally adjusted.

Consumers made fewer late payments on personal loans, direct and indirect auto loans, property improvement, mobile home, RV and marine loans and home equity loans.

But Chessen warns that the housing market remains an area of concern. Home equity loans fell just slightly to 4.08% from 4.12% in the third quarter.

"Troublesome performance in housing-related loans is keeping overall delinquency rates elevated. The housing sector continues its painful adjustment, and it will take a long time before delinquency rates return to normal," he said.

The ABA also tracks delinquencies in three categories of open-end loans, or lines of credit: home equity lines of credit, non-card revolving loans and bank cards, all of which improved in the forth quarter.

Bank card delinquencies fell from 3.25% to 3.17%, the lowest delinquency rate since 2001.

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