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TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

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CU System
Card balances shrinking says TowerGroup study
MADISON, Wis. (7/29/09)--Credit unions may be interested in knowing that revolving balances on credit cards are shrinking at double-digit rates, according to a recent TowerGroup study. The study examined recent economic trends and consumer purchasing behaviors that are forcing financial institutions to modify their credit card lending practices. The study also indicated:
* Unused credit lines at card issuers grew 70% from 1994 to 2008 to more than $4.7 trillion; * During the first quarter of 2009, credit card issuers reported their first negative annualized return on assets since the 1970s. The industry also could be in the red for 2009; and * Consumers are saving at historic rates of more than 6% and are shifting to debit cards from credit cards as a preferred means of payment.
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