Citibank reported Wednesday that its charge-off rate on credit cards fell to 9.4% of balances from 10.3% in October, the largest drop among the top six U.S. credit card issuers for November.
Payments late by 35 days or more also fell during the month - to 4.7%, from 4.9% in October. It marks the lowest delinquency level reported by Citi in two years, and could indicate further improvement in chargeoffs in the coming months.
Banks typically write off credit card balances as uncollectible after payments reach 180 days past due. Citi's charge-off rate peaked in August 2009 at 12.1%.
Federal Reserve statistics show that total revolving balances for consumer credit, primarily credit cards, has been falling for more than two years before gains in September and October, see story.
The numbers reflect several factors, including consumers intentionally reducing their balances, credit card companies cutting customers' available credit lines and the record amounts written off by banks in recent years. Industrywide, the charge-off rate peaked in the second quarter of this year to 10.7% of balances. In the two years prior to the recession, it averaged 3.8%, Federal Reserve data show.