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The percentage of Mexican bank-issued credit card accounts that were delinquent reached 7.6% in April, according to a report by the Mexican 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 the credit card account delinquency rate surpassed 7.1%, it could hurt the Mexican banking system. But in an interview with the online news service Frontera NorteSur, Jorge Aceves, commission assistant director, says the credit card debt load is still not a "major problem. It's not at a critical stage." Banks, he adds, are working with cardholders to restructure debt. The report also states that holders of 60% of bank-issued cards make only the minimum payment due each month.

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