Fitch expresses some worries on consumer credit

It may not be our bread and butter here at Housing Wire, but a warning Wednesday from Fitch Ratings certainly caught our eye from a more general credit perspective:

Revolving consumer credit, which is predominantly composed of credit card receivables, grew over 7.5% in 2007 and now stands at almost $952 billion according to the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances have been building as other sources of funding, such as home equity lines of credit and cash out mortgage refinancing, have become less readily available. This comes as consumer confidence has weakened and unemployment has been rising in recent months. “Despite these negative macroeconomic trends, credit card delinquencies and chargeoffs have just recently returned to their long-term averages following a two-year period of exceptionally strong performance in the wake of the implementation of new bankruptcy legislation in 2005”, said Senior Director Cynthia Ullrich.

With excess spread in credit card ABS deals near historical highs, we can’t see a similar meltdown in credit cards that we saw in RMBS — but still, this bears watching.

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