Canadians better at repaying debt in last quarter

The delinquency rate fell to 2.66%, down from 2.72%

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(Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Canadians with consumer debt were better at making payments on time in the first quarter of this year than they were in the same period over the previous two years, according to the TransUnion credit monitoring agency.

It says the delinquency rate on non-mortgage debt like credit cards, auto loans and lines of credit was down in the first three months of 2015, even though the average balance owing remained stable at just under $20,800.

The delinquency rate fell to 2.66%, down from 2.72% in the same period a year earlier and 2.87% in the first quarter of 2013.

Jason Wang, TransUnion’s director of research, says one of the reasons for the decline was that lenders and borrowers were increasingly cautious.

Wang says another factor was the Bank of Canada’s decision to reduce a key interest rate in January following a collapse of global oil prices that started in late November and continued into this year.

He says the central bank’s move reduced mortgage costs for some homeowners, who used the savings to manage their other types of debt.

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