Slow And Steady For Credit Card ABS Payments, Says Fitch

Credit cards

Some sanguine news comes from Fitch Ratings regarding the state of the U.S. credit arena, as evidenced by card usage and payments.

The firm said the performance of U.S. credit card ABS (that means asset-backed securities, which are fixed-income vehicles offering up cash flow from pooled credit card accounts) are performing nicely, with payment rates tied to a Fitch index on the upswing. That follows positive momentum that has been in place for several months.

Drilling down a bit to card data, separated by classes of cards, prime card metrics have also been positive. The 60-day and above delinquencies have decreased to less than a percent at 93 basis points, which is down one basis point sequentially. The delinquency index, at 2.1 percent below prior-year levels, is also nicely lower than the 4.5 percent peak that was reached in Dec. 2009. As for the monthly payments rate, the tally is at 30.3 percent, up more than 80 basis points and at an historic high. Similarly, the retail credit index saw MPRs grow to 16.6 percent for the month of July. The gross yield has also been on an upswing, and the total, all in, is up more than 6 percent year over year.

All told, the prime index as tracked by Fitch tallies metrics across $139 billion of prime credit card ABS backed by $221 billion of principal receivables. The portfolios are originated by some of the biggest U.S. banks. The retail index tracks $19 billion of retail and private-label cards.