Late loan payments hit a record high

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The American Bankers Association reports that late loan payments in the third quarter of 2008 reached their highest level since the group began collecting such data in 1980. Loan delinquencies rose to 2.9% from 2.68% in the second quarter.

The increase in delinquencies was driven by job losses, according to the ABA. Delinquencies on indirect car loans -- which make up 90% of all car loans -- increased to 3.25% from 3.07% and home equity loan delinquencies rose to 1.15% from 1.08%. Both car loans and home equity loans saw there delinquency rates rise to record levels. Property improvement, marine, recreational vehicle, mobile home, and personal loans also saw increases in delinquency rates. Bank cards saw a solid decrease in delinquencies, moving from 4.54% to 4.2%.

The good news is that if you're having trouble keeping up with loan payments, you're not alone. Lenders are hard up for cash, and they're willing to negotiate more now than they have been in the past. The New York Times recently reported that ". . . lenders and their collectors are rushing to round up what money they can before things get worse, even if that means forgiving part of some borrowers' debts. Increasingly, they are stretching out payments and accepting dimes, if not pennies, on the dollar as payment in full."

So don't be afraid to call up your lender and try to negotiate: They're as desperate as anyone right now.
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