FED Warns Against Rising Delinquency Rates, Calls It A “Leading Indicator That Things Are About To Get Worse”

FED Warns Against Rising Delinquency Rates, Calls It A “Leading Indicator That Things Are About To Get Worse”

Austan Goolsbee, President of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, highlighted that consumer delinquencies are among the most worrisome economic indicators currently being monitored. His concerns now appear prescient as new data reveal a significant uptick in delinquency rates in the first quarter of 2024.

“If the delinquency rate of consumer loans starts rising, that is often a leading indicator that things are about to get worse,” Goolsbee stated.

Recent figures from the Federal Reserve published last week confirm these fears, showing that aggregate delinquency rates have increased, “with 3.2% of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency as of the end of March.”

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This marks a notable rise in financial distress among consumers.

The data indicates that the transition rates into delinquency have surged across all debt categories.

About 8.9% of credit card balances and 7.9% of auto loans have become delinquent annually. Although the transition rate for mortgages increased by 0.3 percentage points, it remains low by historical standards.

“In the first quarter of 2024, credit card and auto loan transition rates into serious delinquency continued to rise across all age groups,” said Joelle Scally, Regional Economic Principal within the Household and Public Policy Research Division at the New York Fed. “An increasing number of borrowers missed credit card payments, revealing worsening financial distress among some households.”

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Despite these concerning trends, the Federal Reserve has not identified a single cause for the rising delinquency rates. Instead, it suggests that several factors could be at play.

Amid the pandemic, Americans increased both savings and spending, potentially continuing their high expenditure rates without the cushion of substantial savings, thus relying more on debt.

Additionally, there has been an uptick in lending to borrowers with lower credit scores in recent years, which might also contribute to the increasing delinquency rates.

As the situation develops, policymakers and financial institutions must closely monitor these indicators to address potential economic fallout. Rising delinquency rates could signal more significant economic issues, necessitating a cautious and proactive approach to prevent further deterioration.

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This article FED Warns Against Rising Delinquency Rates, Calls It A “Leading Indicator That Things Are About To Get Worse” originally appeared on Benzinga.com

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