| October 12, 2011

More lenders targeting subprime borrowers again

As banks continue their efforts to try to lure more customers into opening accounts, many are now turning in greater numbers to those consumers who have subpar credit ratings.

New data from Equifax shows the number of new credit card accounts issued to subprime borrowers jumped 64 percent in the first half of the year to a total of 5.4 million, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires. However, that rate is still well below the 14.7 million cards issued to those with credit scores below 660 in the same period in 2007, before the onset of the national recession.

Data from Synovate illustrates that Citi was the most active in granting accounts to subprime borrowers, accounting for about one-third of all offers sent to those consumers in the third quarter of the year, the report said. The lender only sent out about 15 percent of such offers industrywide in the second quarter.

Banks may be more willing to lend to consumers who have damaged credit ratings these days because of continual improvements in rates of delinquency and default over the last year.

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