WASHINGTON – Despite continued economic stress, consumer loan delinquencies rose only slightly during the second quarter of 2008. Some consumer loan categories even saw a decline in delinquencies, reported the American Bankers Association in its Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.

ABA Chief Economist James Chessen noted that the federal economic stimulus payments helped to keep delinquencies in check.

"Having that financial shot in the arm appears to have helped some Americans pay off debt during the second quarter of 2008," Chessen said. "Borrowers are also being more cautious in adding to their overall debt, which is prudent in the face of a slowing economy."

The composite ratio, which tracks eight closed-end installment loan categories, rose just six basis points to 2.68 percent. The slight increase in the composite ratio was largely due to home equity loan delinquencies, a sign of continued weakness in the housing market. Home equity loan delinquencies jumped 22 basis points to 2.56 percent. Personal loans also saw increased delinquencies. Moreover, a very slight increase in delinquencies was observed in credit cards, which rose three basis points to 4.54 percent. The ABA report defines a delinquency as a late payment that is 30 days or more overdue.

The second quarter composite ratio is made up of the following closed-end loans. All figures are seasonally adjusted based upon the number of accounts.

- Home equity loan delinquencies increased from 2.34 percent to 2.56 percent.

- Property improvement loan delinquencies fell from 1.78 percent to 1.49 percent.

- Indirect auto loan delinquencies fell from 3.09 percent to 3.07 percent.

- Direct auto loan delinquencies fell from 1.92 percent to 1.77 percent.

- Marine loan delinquencies fell from 1.75 percent to 1.54 percent.

- RV loan delinquencies fell from 1.11 percent to 1.07 percent.

- Mobile home loan delinquencies fell from 3.22 percent to 3.03 percent.

- Personal loan delinquencies increased from 2.55 percent to 2.67 percent.

Chessen said consumers still face formidable headwinds as the economic recovery is still months away. "The collision of falling home values, declining stock prices and rising everyday expenses has severely dented the financial security of many people. Until these factors improve, the overall resources of American families will be stretched," he said.