^^People are maxed out and it's hard to get extended credit
Well this should certainly help.
Credit-card industry may cut $2 trillion lines: analyst
Monday December 1, 12:38 pm ET
(Reuters) - The U.S. credit-card industry may pull back well over $2 trillion of lines over the next 18 months due to risk aversion and regulatory changes, leading to sharp declines in consumer spending, prominent banking analyst Meredith Whitney said.
The credit card is the second key source of consumer liquidity, the first being jobs, the Oppenheimer & Co analyst noted.
"In other words, we expect available consumer liquidity in the form of credit-card lines to decline by 45 percent."
Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC - News), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C - News) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM - News) represent over half of the estimated U.S. card outstandings as of September 30, and each company has discussed reducing card exposure or slowing growth, Whitney said.
Closing millions of accounts, cutting credit lines and raising interest rates are just some of the moves credit card issuers are using to try to inoculate themselves from a tsunami of expected consumer defaults.
A consolidated U.S. lending market that is pulling back on credit is also posing a risk to the overall consumer liquidity, Whitney said.
Mortgages and credit cards are now dominated by five players who are all pulling back liquidity, making reductions in consumer liquidity seem unavoidable, she said.
"We are now beginning to see evidence of broad-based declines in overall consumer liquidity."
"Already, we have witnessed the entire mortgage market hit a wall, and we believe it will, for the first time ever, show actual shrinkage over the next few months," she wrote.
The credit card market will be 18 months behind the mortgage market and will begin to shrink by mid-2010, Whitney said.
Whitney also expects home prices to continue falling another 20 percent hurt by lower liquidity. They are down 23 percent from their peak, she said.
"In a country that offers hundreds of cereal and soda pop choices, the banking industry has become one that offers very few choices," Whitney wrote in a note dated November 30.
She also said credit lines to consumers through home equity and credit cards had been cut back from the second-quarter levels.
"Pulling credit when job losses are increasing by over 50 percent year-over-year in most key states is a dangerous and unprecedented combination, in our view," the analyst said.
Most of the solutions to the situation involve government intervention, and all of them require more dilutive capital to existing lenders, she said.
"Accordingly, we continue to be cautious on our outlook on US banks."
Credit-card industry may cut $2 trillion lines: analyst: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance