Consumer loan delinquencies have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years, but some economists are saying it is only a matter of time until credit quality begins to decline again.

The good news, mounting in earnest for the last two years, was reinforced on Friday by the American Bankers Association's release of first-quarter credit data. It showed that only 1.74% of a basket of closed-end loans were at least 30 days past due - lower than in any quarter since the trade group began compiling the data in 1974.

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