Tue February 22, 2011
M&T survey finds people "comfortable" with personal debt levels
By Mark Scott
Buffalo, NY – Consumers are feeling more comfortable with their level of household debt, according to a nation-wide survey released by Buffalo-based M & T Bank Tuesday.
M&T regional economist Gary Keith says 80 percent of consumers in a national survey said they either have little or no debt or are "comfortable" with the debt they do have.
"Most people have been focused on getting out from underneath those kinds of obligations during the recession," Keith said. "They're getting their balance sheets in better shape."
Keith said credit card defaults are declining while the savings rate has more than doubled over the past three years.
"We're getting to a better balance between savings and consumption," Keith said. "In the short term, it can be painful when people are saving rather than spending. But as a long term national goal, we should have more savings."
While people are comfortable with their own debt levels, Keith says they're less upbeat about the health of the national economy. He says half of those surveyed by &T believe the national economy is still in recession.