Waltzing through the treasure trove of data at the St Louis Fed, this chart intrigued. It shows delinquency rates on credit cards among the smaller banks. Presumably the smaller banks have to chase less credit worthy customers because they lack the ultimate battleship marketing cannons of the bigger financial instititutions. We’re back at times worse than the highest levels seen during GFC. Among all banks, we are still away off the $40bn of delinqient credit card debts we’re back at levels higher than those before Lehman’s brought financial markets to a grinding halt.
Add to that the step up in interest rates as well to levels we saw before the whole edifice of cards came crumbling down.
Then why worry when the number of financial institutions looking to tighten standards on consumer lending languishes at close to zero, the types of levels we saw ahead of the market collapse? Nothing to see here?
Meanwhile American household savings languish at 3%. Similar levels as just before GFC melt down. Not much in the rainy day funds. So when Trump’s new economic policy advisor Larry Kudlow starts telling us to back a strong dollar and weak gold, you know exactly what to do.
Moral hazard was supposed to be contained at the private sector level. Looks as though this time around the government is joining the party.