U.S. revolving credit, 98% of which is credit card debt, in May fell 0.9%, to $830.8 billion from a revised total of $838.2 billion in April, according to the latest Federal Reserve G.19 report on consumer credit.
The decline marks a record 20th consecutive month of shrinking U.S. consumer credit. Consumers have eliminated nearly $127.3 billion in credit card debt since the end of 2008, when total consumer revolving credit reached $958.1 billion.
Total seasonally adjusted consumer credit outstanding, which includes revolving and nonrevolving credit, decreased at an annual rate of 4.5% in May, to $2.42 trillion, the report states.
Bankcard delinquencies during the first quarter of this year fell to 3.88% of outstanding receivables on all accounts, down 51 basis points from 4.39% during the fourth quarter of 2009, the American Bankers Association said in July 7 report. The decline marked the first time since 2002 that the ratio of consumer credit card accounts more than 30 days past due has dipped below 4%, the association said.
“It’s clear that consumer balance sheets are improving,” James Chessen, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “People are borrowing less, saving more and building wealth. These are all positive signs.”