Credit card delinquencies declined in the January collection period from a month earlier, though charge-offs spiked, according to Fitch Ratings.

Fitch Managing Director Michael Dean said, "Until we see some meaningful improvement in employment numbers, consumer delinquencies and defaults will remain elevated at or near these levels." He added, "Delinquencies have stabilized in recent periods but they are still high on a historical basis."

Credit-card loans delinquent by 60 days or more declined 0.03 percentage point from the December period to 4.16%, consistent with seasonal patterns and compared with a high of 4.54% in November.

The 30-day rate decline 0.06 point on month to 5.38%, with Fitch attributing the delinquency declines to improvements in Bank of America Corp.'s delinquency rates amid increased use of modification programs.

However, charge-offs, or loans that lenders don't think they will be able to collect jumped 1.12 percentage points from December to 11.37%, the highest level since September's record 11.52% and 54% higher than prior-year levels. Fitch attributed the January jump to a payment holiday for JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit-card holders that pushed more charge-offs into the month.

Monthly payment rates also continued to improve, rising to 19.34% of outstanding balances after averaging 17.49% last year.

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