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Though countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been battling a weak economy for a while, Canadian credit card issuers only recently have begun to feel the affects of increasing delinquencies and charge-offs, according to a recently released report "Uncharted Waters For Credit Card Issuers." For the report, Deloitte Canada, a Toronto-based financial advisory service provider interviewed approximately half of Canadian credit card issuers. Most respondents said they started seeing a 5% to 10% increase in delinquencies during the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier. Moreover, charge-offs increased 50 to 100 basis points, according to the report. "Canada has been quite healthy, and our banking system is quite strong," Pat Daley, Deloitte Canada partner, tells CardLine sister publication Collections & Credit Risk. "But we're not completely immune to the global credit crunch, and it is important that we act early to address the risk for both consumers and the issuers." Some institutions have reacted to those risks by tightening credit standards for new accounts, implementing credit-limit decreases and paring back such acquisition efforts as balance-transfer programs, according to the report.

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