Archive for the ‘Credit Cards’ Category

The True Cost of the 12 Days of Christmas in 2017

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

Purchasing the gifts included in the classic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” will only cost 0.6% more than in 2016, according to the 34th annual holiday economic analysis by The PNC Financial Services Group.  PNC calculated the 2017 price tag for the PNC Christmas Price Index at $34,558.65. That’s just $200 more than last year’s cost and less than the government’s Consumer Price Index, which increased 2.2% through September for the past 12 months. “The U.S. economy is growing at a sustainable pace, fueled by higher consumer confidence, low unemployment, modest wage gains and low interest rates,” said…

Americans Waiting for a Bigger Raise

Posted on November 17, 2017 by Laura Lam

The government said that average hourly earnings rose 2.4% over the past 12 months.  That’s a slip from the 2.9% increase reported in September. It remains below the 3% to 3.5% range that many agree is normal in a truly healthy economy.  The last time wages were up more than 3% year-over-year was in April 2009, just as the economy was emerging from the depths of the global banking crisis that fueled the Great Recession. Why have wages remained stagnant even though many other indicators of the job market and broader economy look healthy? Unemployment continues to drop. The housing…

Are Home Equity Loans Staged for a Comeback?

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Laura Lam

There has been a hint of optimism for home equity lending among bankers this earnings season, but attitudes remain mixed a decade after the housing market crash began.  While home equity lines of credit provided a lift to some bank consumer portfolios, a number of other banks said their home equity businesses had fallen and added little about their future. Industry observers say bankers should take the long view. Home equity lines of credit especially are poised to grow now that home values have been rising for a number of years during the economic recovery.  “If you think about the…

Millennials are saving more for retirement

Posted on November 10, 2017 by Laura Lam

In the race to save for retirement, one group is doing surprisingly well: millennial parents.  That’s according to a new NerdWallet survey, which found that 38% of millennial parents (ages 18-34) save more than 15% of their income for retirement. All told, millennial parents reported a median retirement savings rate of 10% of income, compared with 8% for Generation X parents (ages 35-54) and just 5% for baby boomer parents (ages 55+). Given the picture typically painted of this age group, you might be shouting “fake news” right now. There’s one caveat: The results include only those currently saving for…

Credit Card Delinquencies Are Rising

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Laura Lam

While it’s easy to ignore when the stock market is at record highs and unemployment is reassuringly low, household debt is on the rise.  The Center for Microeconomic Data’s (CMD) latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit reveals that total household debt rose by $114 billion (0.9%) to $12.84 trillion in the second quarter of 2017.  This increase put overall household debt $164 billion above its peak in the third quarter of 2008, and 15.1% above its trough in the second quarter of 2013 Consumer debt, in many ways, should generate more concern – during the good times.  The persistence of…

Halloween Scares Up Record Sales

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Laura Lam

This may not be good news for your waistline, but your sweet tooth might appreciate it: Halloween candy sales are crackerjack this year.  Halloween candy sales are expected to rise 4.1% from last year, reaching a seasonally adjusted $4.1 billion, according to HIS Markit data.  “Consumer confidence is riding high, so consumers are likely to splurge a little more on edible goodies,” said David Deull, a senior economist with IHS Markit. The sales increase is particularly impressive given that candy prices have dropped 0.9% compared with last year, marking the second consecutive Halloween candy price decline, according to IHS Markit…

Best and Worst States for Consumer Credit Scores

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Laura Lam

Consumer credit varies nationally due to regional variations in income and the cost of living.  According to a new study from LendEDU and Experian, the Northeast had the highest average credit score (694). The Midwest (693), Pacific (691), and Rocky Mountain (690) regions followed closely behind. The Southeast (668) and Southwest (662) regions had the lowest credit scores on average.  The best average state scores are roughly 7% higher than the national average, while the worst states are about 7% lower. Vantage Scores were used for the rankings. Scores of 700 and above are considered good, and below 650 is…

Mortgage Default Rates Begin to Rise

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Laura Lam

Mortgage defaults in September were slightly higher than in the previous month and are still lower than a year ago but they are closer to matching levels seen in 2016.  The default rate for first mortgages last month was 0.66%, up a basis point from August, but down a basis point from September a year ago, according to Standard & Poor’s and Experian. Second-mortgage default rates were three basis points higher on a consecutive-month basis at 0.53% but were 3 basis points lower year-to-year.  The composite default rate for mortgage, bank card and auto loan credit was up 2 basis points from…

Banks Prepare for Credit Card Defaults

Posted on October 20, 2017 by Laura Lam

Credit card delinquencies increased for three consecutive months, adding to signs that consumers in the U.S. are having a tough time paying their debt.  According to recent reports, credit card data from JPMorgan, Discover Financial Services and Bank of America show that the number of delinquencies is on the rise. The reason for the uptick in the number of people who can’t pay their credit card bills is due to lenders going after consumers with less-than-stellar credit ratings. Although this practice is intended to fuel growth in a low-interest rate environment, the lower credit quality is coming back to bite…

Data Breaches Cost Firms $1.3 Million in 2017

Posted on October 19, 2017 by Laura Lam

Cyber attacks cost large North American businesses an average of $1.3 million in 2017, according to a new report from security vendor Kaspersky Lab and market research firm B2B International.  The companies surveyed more than 5,000 businesses across 30 countries to gather data on cyber security issues. The cost of data breaches and other attacks was up from $1.2 million in 2016, and totaled $117,000 per incident for small and medium businesses. Companies are starting to view IT security as a strategic investment, the report said. The share of budgets spent on security is growing, reaching 18% compared with 16%…