U.S. credit card performance measures diverged a bit again in September, with chargeoff rates falling for the second time in three months while delinquencies kept rising, according to Fitch Inc.
"U.S. consumer credit-quality measures remain pressured, and chargeoffs will stay high until we see some improvement in employment conditions and in delinquency trends," said Michael Dean, a managing director at the rating agency.
Fitch said its Credit Card Chargeoff Index fell 0.77 percentage point, to 10.75%, from August's record high.
Still, the September rate was 71% higher than the year earlier.
Meanwhile, Fitch's index of loans delinquent for at least 60 days rose 0.16 point, to 4.22%, nearly erasing August's drop and putting the rate up one-third from last year.
Delinquencies of at least 30 days rose as well.
"While somewhat seasonal, the rise in delinquencies provides further evidence that chargeoffs will remain elevated in the coming months," said Cynthia Ullrich, a senior director at Fitch.
And borrowers who are paying are paying an increased percentage of their balances. Fitch said September's rate was 18%, in line with the year-earlier level and two percentage points higher than the historical average.