The delinquency rate on home equity lines of credit reached its highest level ever in the American Bankers Association's (ABA) third quarter 2008 consumer credit delinquency bulletin.

The HELOC overdue rate rose seven basis points from the second quarter to 1.15% in the third, according to the ABA. The percentage of closed-end home equity loans that were past due rose to 2.63% from 2.56% in the previous quarter.

And consumer delinquency rates likely have not peaked, according to ABA chief economist James Chessen. Noting that a composite ratio of overdue rates on eight types of consumer loans rose by 22 basis points to 2.90% in the third quarter, he said the data point to continuing financial stress for consumers. With job losses continuing to mount, he predicts that delinquencies on all types of consumer loans will continue rising in the coming quarters.

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