| April 15, 2011

Capital One reports fewer charge offs, delinquencies

In a sign that consumers may be having a better time reducing their credit card debt and making timely payments to lenders, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions reported that it saw delinquent and charged off accounts decline in March.

The latest regulatory filing from Capital One Financial showed that instances of both charge offs and delinquencies slipped last month, though the latter type of account did so more significantly, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires. Charged off accounts – those 90 days or more behind on payments – slipped to 5.87 percent of the company’s total portfolio, down from 5.91 percent in February.

Meanwhile, the rate at which its credit card bills fell 30 days or more delinquent dropped to 3.59 percent of all accounts, down from 3.83 percent in February, the report said. This may be good news for the company, as delinquencies are viewed as indicators of future charge off statistics.

However, many financial experts are wary of default numbers, as they may not necessarily indicate that consumers are getting a better handle on their finances. During the recession, banks wrote off so many consumers that they may be unable to find new lines of credit.

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