ABA finds loan delinquency rates on the decline

New data indicates the rate of U.S. consumer loan delinquencies decreased during the fourth quarter of last year, suggesting that more individuals are paying down their loans responsibly.

The American Bankers Association found bank card delinquencies fell to 3.28 percent in March, which is much lower than the 15-year average of 3.92 percent. Personal loan delinquencies also decreased, dropping to 3.08 percent from the 3.68 percent recorded in the third quarter.

James Chessen, the ABA's chief economist, said the improvements in delinquency rates are a positive sign for the economy.

"Consumers are clearly showing better control at managing their debt even while increasing their borrowing, especially in auto loans and student loans," Chessen said. "At the same time, household wealth is up, hiring is up and unemployment is down. When people have jobs, they can spend more and pay their bills on time."

Individuals who have focused on decreasing their debt and improving their credit may want to check their credit report to make sure their information is accurate and up-to-date. In some instances, a credit company may mistakenly report unfair or inaccurate information to the credit bureaus, resulting in a hit to a consumer's credit score. When this happens, many consumers will seek the aid of a credit lawyer who may be able to help remove the blemish by working with the credit reporting agencies.