BofA Reports First Increase In Customer Late Payments In A Year

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bank of America Corp. on Monday reported a small increase in customer late payments for September.

It was the first increase Bank of America reported for delinquencies, as they are known in the industry, in a year, and echoed similar increases reported by other major card issuers.

Delinquencies are an important indicator of future default.

The credit card division of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said in a regulatory filing that the rate its customers' payments were late by 30 days or more rose to 3.99 percent of balances on an annualized basis, from 3.96 percent in August.

The bank also said in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the rate it wrote off credit card balances last month dropped to 5.99 percent of balances, annualized, from 6.79 percent in August. That was the first time the default rate dropped below 6 percent since before the 2008 financial crisis.

Bank of America still has among the highest rate of default, or charge-offs, in the industry. But it is down substantially from the 14.53 percent the bank reported in August 2009.

American Express Co. on Monday reported a slight increase in its late payment rate last month. But American Express' late payments are still the lowest in the credit card industry.

Credit card companies typically write off balances after they are 180 days past due, the point at which the companies assume they won't be able to collect.

Bank of America Corp. shares fell 16 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $6.03 on Monday. Markets were broadly lower, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.1 percent.