ATLANTA (10/4/11)--Total bankcard originations for the first six months of 2011 are up by 27% over the same time in 2010, according to Equifax's latest national Credit Trends Report
. More than 18 million bankcards were originated at credit unions and banks during the period--a three-year high for the January through June period. Bankcard originations for subprime borrowers--those having Equifax credit scores of less than 660--continued a trend seen in January-May data, said the credit information bureau. They exhibited a sustained increase--64% over the same period in 2010--and make up more than 31% of all card originations. During the first half of the year, 5.4 million new subprime cards were originated. The increase coincides with hikes in credit limits as well, said Equifax. In January-June 2011 new bankcard credit limits rose 27% over January-June 2010 levels. New subprime credit limits increased 68% for that period. Two other key findings:
* A $45 billion credit increase since February coincides with a decrease in bankcard delinquencies. * The number of bankcard delinquencies is declining to pre-recession levels. However, the average dollar amount of card delinquencies is increasing.
The data "clearly indicate a continuation of increasing numbers of bankcard originations and higher new bankcard credit limits," said Michael Koukounas, Equifax senior vice president, special client services. "While bankcard origination numbers are still far from their pre-recession levels, bankcard delinquency levels have actually declined below pre-recession levels, and I expect a continuation of this trend in the near term."