The latest data from credit monitoring bureau Experian shows that credit card debt balances have tumbled more than 5 percent in 48 municipal areas across the country, even while many still faced severe financial difficulties, according to a report from the consumer advice site Wallet Pop. In more than half of these cities, real estate problems brought on by the foreclosure have been well above national averages.
This trend likely indicates that more banks are charging off delinquent credit card debt in these areas, the report said. Another possibility is that lenders have severely cut consumers' credit limits in these areas.
A recent poll also showed that many Americans preferred to pay their credit card bill over their mortgage, so consumers in those areas particularly affected by spikes in foreclosure, such as states in the South and Southwest, might be following this trend.