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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Hovhannes Avoyan, Elizabeth White, Kevin Jackson

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National Average Delinquency Rate at Record Lows While Seniors Acquire More Debt-Equifax Canada Reports

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/26/13 -- Equifax Canada's Q2 2013 National Consumer Credit Trends Report finds that the National 90 day-plus delinquency rate decreased over the past three years in Canada, to a record low of 1.19 per cent.

But Canadian consumers continue to increase their debt burdens according to data from Equifax Canada, despite recent efforts from regulators to tighten lending standards. Total debt rose by nearly $77 billion, or 6.1 per cent, from last year's level driven by an 8.6 per cent increase in auto loan balances and a 7.4 per cent increase in outstanding mortgage debt.

Cristian deRitis, Senior Director of Consumer Credit Economics at Moody's Analytics, commented on the Equifax report by adding that "the increased demand for credit outside of mortgages is positive for the economy in the short-term, but could limit the ability of over-extended consumers to react to any financial bumps in the road in the future."

The Equifax Report also revealed that average debt for consumers aged 65 and over shows the greatest year-over-year increase in all age groups at 6.5 per cent.

Henrietta Ross, CEO, Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, noted that "the traditional golden years that retirees anticipated have not become a reality as debt loads rise for those over 65. With reduced incomes, often coupled with increased expenses, these individuals are accumulating more debt to boost income through credit so that they can continue to enjoy a pre-retirement lifestyle that they may no longer be able to afford. They also may be accumulating debt in an effort to help their own grown children or their own parents who are struggling financially," she added on this alarming trend.

Serious delinquency rates are stable across lending products as well as provinces. Toronto has the highest delinquency rate among major Metropolitan Areas at 1.56 per cent of non-mortgage balances but has continuously improved since hitting a peak of 2.53 per cent in 2010. The fraction of mortgage loans that were 90 or more days delinquent fell to 0.27 per cent in the second quarter from 0.33 per cent a year ago.

"Stable home prices and improvements in the labour market should continue to support the market in the future, while the outlook for consumer credit remains positive," advised deRitis. "A sudden rise in interest rates or deterioration in fundamentals in key export markets are risks to this forecast however."

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Regina Malina, Director, Modeling & Analytics, Equifax Canada, commented that "as the fears of another recession slowly subside, consumers continue to accumulate high levels of debt but with more fiscal responsibility."

The Equifax Report now contains mortgage debt and delinquency trends.

Mortgage portfolio highlights include:


--  The 90 day plus delinquency rate for mortgages shows a 19.2 per cent
    decrease from the same period last year, which could be the result of
    the tighter mortgage lending rules introduced in July 2012. 
--  Mortgage portfolios are growing at a robust pace, an increase of 7.4 per
    cent over the same period last year. 
--  Average Mortgage balances are showing small but steady increases:
    $162,985 vs. $168,387 (Q2/12 vs. Q2/13 respectively).

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.

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