Friday, January 27, 2012

U.S. Credit Card Debt Dropped Sharply in 2011

Consumer credit card debt fell a whopping 11% in 2011, after having fallen 7% in 2010, with debt loads declining in all 50 states.
According to a report from credit tracking and financial education website CreditKarma.com, and reported on www.money.cnn.com by Blake Ellis, the average credit card balance was $6,576 in 2011, down from $7,404 in 2010. Ken Lin, CEO of Credit Karma, said that “the decline came as weak consumer confidence kept spending in check and banks continued to tighten their lending and slash credit limits for many existing customers”. However, Lin opined that as the economy continues to strengthen, debt will probably increase since lending institutions have started to relax their credit requirements.
By state: consumers in Wisconsin had the lowest average credit card debt last year at $5,062.Mississippi and Alabama followed closely as well as posting the largest declines, with residents reducing their balances by 23% and 16%, respectively. The great state of Alaska saw the most credit card arrears, with consumers owning an average debt load of $7,937; they were followed byNew Hampshire and Connecticut.
In other U.S. debt news, mortgage debt remained at an average of $173,876, although levels varied greatly among states. California held the most mortgage debt at an average of $313,749 per person. West Virginia residents had the lowest level at $104,279. Mortgage debt increased the most in South Dakota, increasing nearly 12%, while Nevada saw the biggest decline at 6%.
Auto loan debt was the only type of debt to increase, rising 2% to an average of $15,504. It soared 30% in Alabama, the most in any state, to an average of $20,996.
With all debt totaled, the average consumer (if there is such a person) held a total debt load of $210,236 at the end of 2011, down a paltry 1% from 2010.
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