The number of Americans seeking relief on their bills dropped again in August, according to a new report, but an uptick in early delinquencies for car and mortgage payments could mean some are struggling.

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The percentage of accounts in hardship programs for credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, and mortgages all declined in August from July, according to a TransUnion’s report based on 5 million consumer credit records.

Read more: Here’s what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage

But the share of accounts 30 days past due for auto loans edged up to 2.61% from July’s 2.53%, while mortgages that were a month behind increased to 1.74% from 1.7% in July. 

“The 30+ days past due metric can be used as an early indicator that an account may go delinquent,”  said Matt Komos, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion. “However, it does not necessarily

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Loan delinquencies of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) could dart up 50-250 basis points (bps) this fiscal, depending on the segment of operation, because of vulnerability in borrower cash flows, according to credit rating agency Crisil.

The agency said this is a base-case estimate without factoring in loan restructuring and the Covid-19 affliction curve.

As per this estimate, as of March-end 2021, the projected delinquency in the home loan segment is 1.7-1.9 per cent (against estimated 1.1-1.3 per cent as at March-end 2020); vehicle finance, including construction equipment (8.0-8.5 per cent against 6.0-6.5 per cent); loans against property (6.0-6.5 per cent against 3.5-4.0 per cent); unsecured SME loans (6.0-6.5 per cent against 4.0-4.5 per cent); and unsecured loans – consumer durable and personal loans (4.0-4.5 per cent against 2.0-2.5 per cent).

Covid-19 afflictions

Crisil observed that the rapid increase in Covid-19 afflictions and intermittent lockdowns will increase asset quality challenges of

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