As Obama's "recovery" rolls along, the Wall Street Journal points out that the delinquency rates of subprime credit cards has surged to the highest levels recorded since 2012. Moreover, per TransUnion data, delinquency rates on cards issued in 2015 are close to 3%, or roughly double the overall rate, indicating that consumers have grown increasingly dependent on credit cards over the past couple of years to fund daily expenses.
Credit-card lending to subprime borrowers is starting to backfire.
Missed payments on credit cards that lenders issued recently are higher than on older cards, according to new data from credit bureau TransUnion. Nearly 3% of outstanding balances on credit cards issued in 2015 were at least 90 days behind on payments six months after they were originated. That compares with 2.2% for cards that were given out in 2014 and 1.5% for cards in 2013.
The poorer performance on newer cards pushed up the 90-day or more delinquency rate for all credit cards to 1.53% on average nationwide in the third quarter. That’s the highest level since 2012.
Meanwhile, FRED data reveals that while overall credit card delinquency rates remain at 10-year lows, the trends has been higher over the past several quarters.
Of course, as we've noted before, part of the problem is that credit card companies have been forced to compete with the "peer-to-peer" loan providers whose volume has grown exponentially since tapping into the Wall Street securitization machine in 2015. Unfortunately, this latest wall street ponzi scheme only serves to ruin the long-term credit quality of borrowers as most people use proceeds to repay credit cards then simply max them out all over again.
We first noted Wall Street's misguided plan to feed its securitization machine with peer-to-peer (P2P) loans back in May 2015 (see "What Bubble? Wall Street To Turn P2P Loans Into CDOs"). Obviously we warned then that the voracious demand for P2P loans was a direct product of central bank policies that had sent investors searching far and wide for yield leaving them so desperate they were willing to gamble on the payment streams generated by loans made on peer-to-peer platforms.
In addition to the pure lunacy of using unsecured, low/no-doc, micro-loans as collateral for a CDO, we pointed out that the very nature of P2P loans meant that borrower creditworthiness likely deteriorated as soon as loans were issued. The credit deterioration stemmed from the fact that many borrowers were simply using P2P loan proceeds to repay higher-interest credit card debt. That said, after paying off that credit card, many people simply proceeded to max it out again leaving them with twice the original amount of debt.
And, sure enough, it only took about a year before the first signs started to emerge that the P2P lending bubble was bursting. The first such sign came in May 2016 when Lending Club's stock collapsed 25% in a single day after reporting that their write-off rates were trending at 7%-8% or roughly double the forecasted rate (we wrote about it here "P2P Bubble Bursts? LendingClub Stock Plummets 25% After CEO Resigns On Internal Loan Review").
As the WSJ points out, the credit quality of borrowers has declined materially over the past couple of years. In fact, the volume of subprime card issuance was up 20% year-over-year in 2015 and 56% compared to 2013. Meanwhile, declining household income related to the oil bust has also led to higher delinquencies.
The recent increase in subprime lending is one of the big contributors. Lenders ramped up subprime card lending in 2014 and have been doling out more of these cards recently. They issued just over 20 million credit cards to subprime borrowers in 2015, up some 20% from 2014 and up 56% from 2013, according to Equifax.
Separately, missed payments in states with large oil or energy sectors continue to worsen. The share of card balances that were at least 90 days past due increased 12% in Oklahoma, 10% in Texas and 20% in Wyoming in the third quarter from a year prior, according to TransUnion. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that rising unemployment in the energy sector was pushing up delinquencies on credit cards and auto loans, raising the risk of new losses for banks.
Why do we suddenly have a sinking suspicion that victims of "predatory credit card lending practices" will be the next bailout target of democrats after taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for outstanding student loan debts?