The good news: the U.S. economy is relatively strong again, with low unemployment and people raring to get out there and spend, spend, spend. The other good news: what goes up just keeps going up!
The Wall Street Journal reports today that our national credit card debt is $952 billion and rising—on pace to pass $1 trillion this year, matching the record high that we reached **just** before the 2008 economic crash really swung into full gear. On one hand, this is a result of people being able to take on more debt, because they are earning more, and is a sign that credit card companies believe that more people will be able to repay more debt, and in that sense can be taken as a sign that the American economy is a-booming and a-chugging again in a manner beneficial to prosperity. On the other hand..
Because many creditworthy consumers are still cautious about spending, lenders are turning more aggressively to subprime borrowers.
Lenders issued some 10.6 million general-purpose credit cards to subprime borrowers last year, up 25% from 2014 and the highest level since 2007, according to Equifax.
“We’ll continue to take this opportunity as far as it will take us,” Richard Fairbank, chief executive at Capital One Financial Corp., said in a recent conference call with investors.
“As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.” - Former Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince in 2007, explaining why his company was still pouring money into deals, because “there was so much liquidity it would not be disrupted by the turmoil in the US subprime mortgage market.”
So you never know how these things will turn out.