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Loan Delinquencies Rise for Second Straight Quarter, ABA Says

U.S. consumer-loan delinquencies rose for the second consecutive quarter as consumers wrestled with high unemployment and continued challenges in the housing market, the American Bankers Association said.

Overall delinquencies across eight loan categories rose to 2.88 percent of all accounts in the three months ending June 30, from 2.71 percent in the prior quarter, the ABA said today in its Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. Home equity loan delinquencies rose to 4.38 percent, from 4.12 percent, marking the largest jump in more than a year.

“Lackluster job creation, private sector uncertainty and public sector job cuts have stalled momentum and increased pressure on consumers as the economy struggles to find a way forward,” James Chessen, the Washington-based group’s chief economist, said in a statement.

There were “encouraging trends” in the second quarter in credit card delinquencies, Chessen said, where overdue payments fell by 18 basis points, to 3.22 percent, to reach the lowest level in a decade.

The U.S. jobless rate was 9.1 percent in August and has been stuck at 9 percent or higher for five months. Employers added zero jobs to payrolls in August, down from 85,000 in July, according to the Labor Department.

More than two years after the 18-month recession ended in June 2009, the economic recovery is “close to faltering,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in testimony yesterday in front of the Joint Economic Committee.

“Recent indicators, including new claims for unemployment insurance and surveys of hiring plans, point to the likelihood of more sluggish job growth in the period ahead,” Bernanke said.

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