MARKET UPDATE:  Credit card users in Hawaii are paying off debt faster than those in most other states.  A report Thursday from TransUnion, one of the nation’s three largest credit-reporting agencies, said card users in the isles had the second-greatest year-over-year decline in debt per borrower and the fifth-largest drop in delinquencies in the first quarter.  The average debt in Hawaii stands at $5,093, down nearly 4 percent from $5,303 in the year-earlier quarter.  “Hawaii was one of only four states that saw a year-over-year decline in average balances,” said Charlie Wise, TransUnion’s director of research and consulting.

“Consumers have a little more bank card debt but do a better job than the U.S. average in paying that on time.”  Hawaii card users also had the 11th-lowest delinquency rate at 0.54 percent, down 14 percent from 0.63 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Nationally, the delinquency rate is 0.73 percent.  “There’s two things that really drive people’s payments of debt, capacity to pay, you have a job … the other is your payment preference,” Wise said. “Hawaii fortunately has that capacity to pay.”  Still, Hawaii ranked 36th for least credit card debt, the 16th highest in the nation. That put Hawaii above the national average of $4,962, which was up 6.1 percent from $4,679 in the first quarter of 2011.  Average balances have risen nationwide due in part to lenders issuing more cards to high-risk borrowers after a tightening in credit during the recession.  Hawaii has a better-than-average risk profile, with fewer proportionately high-risk borrowers, Wise said.

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