WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late payments for most consumer loans rose in the third quarter of 2006, according to the American Bankers Association's Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. In the auto industry, direct auto loan delinquencies increased to 1.87 from 1.72 percent and indirect auto loan delinquencies went up slightly to 2.35 percent from 2.14 percent.

ABA's quarterly survey of more than 300 banks nationwide tracks the percentage of consumer loans that are 30 days or more past due.

Credit card late payments increased to 4.57 percent in the third quarter, compared to 4.41 percent (seasonally adjusted) in the second quarter of 2006. However, credit card delinquencies improved from the third quarter of 2005 when late payments reached 4.74 percent.

"The pressure points that squeeze consumers' budgets still remain, making it difficult for some people to meet their debt obligations," said James Chessen, ABA's chief economist.  

"Energy costs are still taking their toll on consumer budgets, as is the cumulative effect of the Fed's 17 interest-rate hikes," he continued.

Chessen said the decline of the housing market has weakened an important resource for many consumers. 

"With savings rates negative and home values stagnant, the spring has gone out of shock absorbers that handle life's financial bumps in the road. Fortunately job and income growth remain strong and the stock market shows renewed strength," Chessen explained. 

Late payments in eight types of closed-end installment loans, known as the composite ratio, increased to 2.12 percent of accounts (seasonally adjusted) from 1.96 percent in the second quarter of 2006. Delinquencies for this ratio reached 2.17 percent in the third quarter of 2005. 

The third quarter composite ratio delinquencies are as follows: 

—Personal loan delinquencies increased to 1.91 from 1.86 percent.
—Direct auto loan delinquencies increased to 1.87 percent from 1.72 percent.
—Indirect auto loan delinquencies increased to 2.35 percent from 2.14 percent.
—Recreational vehicle loan delinquencies increased to 0.89 percent from 0.79 percent
—Marine loan delinquencies increased to 1.04 percent from 0.98 percent.
—Home equity loan delinquencies decreased to 1.79 percent from 1.89 percent.
—Property improvement loan delinquencies increased to 1.68 percent from 1.48 percent.
—Mobile home loan delinquencies decreased to 3.24 percent from 3.61 percent. 

Additionally, past-due payments on home equity lines of credit — the lowest delinquency rate category — increased to 0.57 percent from 0.52 percent, according to the ABA's findings.