The percentage of Mexican bank-issued credit card accounts that are delinquent reached 7.6% in April, according to a report by the Mexican federal government's National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Financial Services Users. The rate has risen steadily since June 2005, when just 3% of card loans were overdue. Mexican officials fear the rise could mean trouble for the consumer-credit sector, which has helped drive the country's economy the past five years. Last year, Luis Pazos, commission president, warned that if delinquent credit cards surpassed 7.1% of accounts, it could hurt the Mexican banking system. But in an interview with the online news service Frontera NorteSur, Jorge Aceves, commission assistant director, said the credit card debt load is still not a "major problem. It's not at a critical stage." Banks, he added, are working with cardholders to restructure debts. The report also states that holders of 60% of bank-issued cards make only the minimum payment due each month, and the percentage of all consumer bank loans considered nonpaying grew from 6% in 2006 to 10% by March 2008.

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