FICO Survey: Grim Outlook for Student Loan Delinquencies Amid Otherwise Positive Outlook for Consumer Credit

Competitive Intelligence
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SAN JOSE, Calif.—January 29, 2013—The results of FICO’s quarterly survey of U.S. bank risk professionals offered a generally positive outlook for consumer credit health, with large majorities of lenders expecting delinquency rates on most types of consumer and small business loans to remain stable or decrease during the first half of 2013.

However, student loans continue to cause concern for many lenders. Nearly six in 10 respondents expect the delinquency rate on student loans to increase over the next six months. This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which a majority of survey respondents offered a pessimistic outlook for student loans.

“Our survey results are showing a consistent, cautious optimism around consumer credit each quarter with the big exception being student loans,” said Dr. Andrew Jennings, head of FICO Labs. “Even the mortgage sector appears to be stabilizing. If a worst-case scenario were to unfold in student lending, taxpayers could be on the hook for many billions of dollars in government-backed loans. Significant changes in student lending may be necessary to head off large problems that could affect the broader economy.”

A detailed report on FICO’s quarterly survey results is available at http://www.prmia.org/PRMIA-News/Fico-4thQuarterJan2013F.pdf. The quarterly survey included responses from 251 risk managers at banks throughout the U.S. in December 2012. FICO Labs also recently published the findings from its research into the student lending crisis. Those findings are available here.

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