WASHINGTON — After nine-straight months of improvement, consumers slipped in October in keeping up with their bills.
A closely followed composite index of defaults on mortgages, credit cards and auto loans increased last month after hitting a post-recession low in September.
Driven by higher defaults on first mortgages, the consumer credit default index released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and credit reporting company Experian increased to a 1.55% rate in October from 1.46% the previous month.
The default rate for first mortgages rose to 1.47% from 1.36% in September. Second mortgage and auto loan default rates showed slight increases.
The only major rate to improve was for credit cards, dropping to 3.68% in October from 3.7% the previous month. The October rate was a post-recession low.
David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices, said the default rate increases last month were not a concern.
“Overall consumer credit quality remains healthy," he said.
All of the default indices were "at levels typical of the pre-crisis period of the early 2000s," Blitzer said.
Only the credit card default rate was above 2.5%, but it still was at a recent low and close to its minimum over the past eight years, he said.
Of the five major cities tracked by S&P and Experian, only two — New York and Dallas — saw default rate increases in October.
New York's rate rose to 1.35% from 1.28% in September. Dallas saw the biggest increased, to 1.26% in October from 1.03% the previous month, but still had the lowest default rate among the five large cities.
Los Angeles and Chicago hit post-recession lows, while Miami also decreased.
Los Angeles had its third-straight monthly decrease in its overall consumer credit default rate, to 1.44% in October from 1.45% in September. Chicago's rate dropped to 1.78% in October from 1.82% the previous month.ALSO: