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February 22, 2012

Worcester Credit Card Debt Falls

Measured by percentage of income owed to credit card companies, Worcester metropolitan-area residents saw the 12th largest decrease in credit card debt in the country during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Atlanta-based consumer credit reporting agency Equifax.

Worcester-area borrowers reduced the percentage of income owed to credit card companies by 17.2 percent, Equifax said.

Equifax noted that some of the states hardest hit by the recession - such as Florida, California and Louisiana - slashed their credit card debt the most. Port St. Lucie, Fla., saw the largest decrease of 23.6 percent.

"This suggests that consumers from these hardest hit areas have been especially cautious in their spending and diligent in paying down their credit card debt," said Trey Loughran, president of Equifax's Personal Solutions division.

Credit card debt began to fall in the fourth quarter of 2010 and continued its slide through the end of 2011, Equifax said. Consumer debt (including mortgages and other loans) has fallen nearly 11 percent from its peak of $12.4 trillion in October of 2008, but American households still owe more than $800 billion to credit card companies alone.

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