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Seasonal hike: Late-payment rate on US credit cards rose in 4Q from 3Q; down on annual basis

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Many Americans took on more credit card debt and failed to make timely payments in the final quarter of 2013. Even so, the national late-payment rate remains close to its lowest level in six years. Credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday that the rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue was 1.48 per cent in the October-December quarter. That's up from 1.36 per cent in the previous quarter, but down from 1.61 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Large number of personal debtors use workout program in 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean banks cut interest rates, rescheduled repayments or extended the grace period for interest payments for personal debts amounting to 12.6 trillion won (US$11.9 billion) last year, data showed on Tuesday. The debt is equivalent to 2.6 percent of the total 379.6 trillion won in loans extended by banks, according to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

S. Korean credit card firms punished for data leak

South Korean regulators Sunday suspended some operations of three credit card firms as punishment for the unprecedented theft of financial data on more than 20 million people. The country's largest-ever theft of personal financial data from KB Kookmin Bank, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card involved more than 40 percent of the country's 50 million population. The case provoked fury when revealed by prosecutors last month, with thousands flooding the firms' branches for days to cancel credit cards or get new ones.

A high credit score can be a turn-on

By Lou Carlozo CHICAGO (Reuters) - You cannot put a price on love, but you can certainly attach a financial number to a suitor. Jennifer Murtoff, 39, wants to do just that before she accepts her next date. The Chicago freelance editor who helps city people raise fowl in their backyards is asking a question she hopes will help her weed out the losers: "What is your credit score?" She could find the answer on, a website where potential dates provide that information.

Republicans may call first debt limit vote Wednesday

The US House of Representatives may hold a vote Wednesday on the debt ceiling, according to several Republican lawmakers, as the February 27 deadline before a potential US default looms. House Republicans Monday met behind closed doors to discuss a proposal that would permit the US Treasury to continue borrowing until the end of March next year, according to several congressmen who spoke to reporters.

Consumer debt swells to $1.4 trillion, but Canadians able to pay it: Equifax

TORONTO - The love affair Canadians have with debt is still going strong, according to a new report by credit monitoring agency Equifax Canada. Equifax said Monday that its figures show that consumer debt, excluding mortgages, rose to $518.3 billion through the end of November 2013. That was up 4.2 per cent from $497.4 billion a year earlier. Despite the increase in debt, however, the overall delinquency rate — bills due past 90 days — declined to a record low of 1.12 per cent from 1.19 per cent in the same period of 2012.

Moody's cuts Puerto Rico to junk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Moody's on Friday cut Puerto Rico's credit rating to junk status, citing concerns about the fiscally challenged U.S. territory's weak growth and ability to access capital markets. Moody's, which placed Puerto Rico's rating on notice for a downgrade late last year, said it now rates the commonwealth's general obligation bonds at Ba2, two notches below investment grade status.

Number of private money lenders down in H1 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- The number of private money lenders operating in South Korea fell 6.2 percent in the first half of last year from six months earlier amid tighter business rules, the financial watchdog said Friday. The number of registered private money lenders and brokers reached 10,223 as of the end of June 2013, down 672 from six months earlier, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

U.S. starts emergency measures to buy time under debt ceiling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday said it would start using accounting measures that will help the government pay its bills for a few weeks after a new limit on public debt takes effect this weekend. The Treasury Department said it will suspend issuance of state and local government series securities - known as "slugs" - beginning on Friday.

China's loan sharks circle in murky shadow bank waters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's crackdown on risky lending has driven borrowers into an even darker place in their search for capital - underground banking. The domain of loan sharks, underground lending is the least regulated area of China's shadow banking, or non-banking, sector and for some it is seen as the biggest risk to China's financial stability.
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