U.S. consumers have racked up more than $100 billion in revolving debt since the financial crisis, and at the end of 2018 they owed credit card companies almost $900 billion. These are among the sobering facts that can be found in a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report. The report points out that most of this new debt has been taken on by borrowers who are considered either prime or super-prime by lenders, but it also reveals that credit card spending is rising the fastest among consumers in Texas and around the country with subprime credit ratings.
According to the CFPB, Americans are happy to charge their purchases because the economy is doing well and they are confident that the good times will continue. The current economic expansion is the longest in the nation’s history, and unemployment lines are shorter today than they have been in 50 years. Wages are also predicted to rise by more than 3% in 2020, and interest rates are still far lower than they were before the last recession.
However, there are parts of the CFPB report that are likely to worry financial experts. Delinquencies are once again becoming a thorny problem for lenders, and there are now more consumers turning to debt settlement companies than opening new credit card accounts. There are also signs that credit card spending is starting to slow, which many economic analysts see as an ominous sign.
Individuals and families who are having financial difficulties sometimes turn to debt settlement because they are worried that filing a bankruptcy will make future borrowing impossible. Attorneys with experience in this area could dispel this and other myths and explain that a discharged Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can open the door to a fresh financial start. Attorneys could also explain that the automatic stay that is issued when a bankruptcy is filed ends collection efforts and puts at least a temporary stop to creditor harassment.