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Americans’ Near-Record Levels of Credit Card Debt Helping Bolster Banking Industry - ABI

Americans have accumulated near-record levels of credit card debt over the past year as card companies have increased interest rates and fees, the Washington Post reported. The booming market is helping drive record banking industry profits but could become increasingly costly for consumers who do not pay off their bill every month or miss a payment, industry experts say. JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank by assets, and Citigroup reported that credit card sales were up 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in the third quarter. Profits at Visa were up 17 percent in its most recent fiscal year, while Mastercard reported an 11 percent profit jump in its most recent quarter. To be sure, despite increasing debt loads, delinquency rates remain relatively low. About 6 percent of consumers were late on a payment this year compared with 15 percent in 2009, according to WalletHub. Consumers have yet to balk at the relatively high interest rates, industry experts say. ABI

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