Credit card default rates soar as bankruptcy filings pour in

first_imgBy Madlen Read THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK – With more Americans filing for bankruptcy again after last year’s hiatus, credit card default rates are spiking. Although the percentage of payments being written off as uncollectible isn’t as high as it was a couple of years ago, the conditions are ripe for it to catch up. Bankruptcy filings keep pouring in, home prices keep falling and energy prices remain high. According to data from Moody’s Investors Service, credit card companies wrote off 4.58 percent of payments between January and May, up nearly 30 percent from the same period in 2006. “In 2007, we expected an increase, as bankruptcy filings returned to more normal levels,” said Jay Eisbruck, managing director in Moody’s Investors Service Asset-Backed Finance Group. He called this year’s resurgence in bankruptcy filings the primary reason credit card default rates have soared. In mid-2005, when home prices were still rising, the default rate was at around 6percent, and in 2004, it was even higher. What ended up bringing the default rate down to about 3percent in late 2005 and early 2006 were changes in U.S. law that made it more expensive and more difficult for individuals to file and qualify for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy filings surged in late 2005 before the law took hold, then dropped off. Now, bankruptcy filings are flooding back in. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the nation’s bankruptcy filings jumped 66percent in the first quarter. That’s causing default rates to soar, because getting bankruptcy protection usually means you’re released of your credit card obligations. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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