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NextGen Magazine


Student Loan Repayment Resumption May Lead to More Personal Debt Defaults

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 15, 2023

As many as 1.4 million Americans could become seriously delinquent—that is, overdue on a payment of at least one credit product by at least 90 days—as a result of the resumption of student loan payments, Bloomberg reported.

The delinquencies could be on all kinds of household credit, including cards and personal loans, according to new analysis by TransUnion and the Boston Consulting Group cited by Bloomberg.

“There will be more consumers that have delinquencies as a result of this additional debt,” said Liz Pagel, a senior vice president at TransUnion and one of the authors of the report.

Delinquencies were already on the rise even before the student freeze ended, according to the report. About 3 percent of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency at the end of September, up by 0.4 percent from three months earlier, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For credit cards and auto loans, delinquency rates are more than twice as high. Overall, 4.7 percent of consumers have at least some debt on their credit report that is in the hands of third-party collectors.

During the student-loan pause, only about one in four debtors made any payment, and fewer than one in 10 did so continuously, the report found. Fifty-five percent of those who didn’t pay said it was because they didn’t have the funds and 23 percent said they still can’t pay now. Another 23 percent reported that they will only be able to stay current by taking steps such as finding a second job or reducing spending.

The report stated that during the three and a half years when they didn’t have to repay student loans, borrowers took on new debts, such as mortgages or auto loans, in a period that saw a surge in borrowing overall.