The delinquency rate on home equity loans jumped 24 basis points to 2.15 percent during the first quarter, the American Bankers Association said Tuesday.

Delinquencies on home equity lines of credit — which have the lowest delinquency rate of categories tracked in the ABA’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin — were also up 3 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2006, to .6 percent.

The increase in delinquencies on home equity loans helped push the average rate of delinquency on eight loan categories tracked by the bulletin up 19 basis points, to 2.42 percent — a level not seen since 2001.

Slow job growth, falling home prices and weak economic growth helped to worsen consumers’ financial position overall, said ABA Chief Economist James Chessen.

“There are still signs of consumer financial distress, which will continue throughout most of this year as the worst of the housing problem works its way through the economy,” Chessen said in a statement.

The one bright spot in the latest bulleting was that late payments on credit cards fell to 4.41 percent of all accounts in the first quarter, compared to 4.56 percent in the previous quarter.

Other loan delinquencies tracked include property improvement loans (up 32 basis points to 1.61 percent), indirect auto loans (up 16 basis points to 2.73 percent) personal loans (up 17 basis points to 2.08) mobile home loans (up 12 basis points to 2.94 percent), marine loans (up 8 basis points to 1.41 percent) and recreational vehicle loans (up 7 basis points to 1.03 percent).

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