for prime and subprime borrowers,” said Jess Sharp, executive director of ABA’s card policy council. “Issuers always look care-fully at performance across all categories of borrowers to assess risk and determine the pace of credit card off erings.” Th e report also found that the share of “revolvers” (those who carry a monthly balance on their card) declined 1 percent-age point to 43 percent, its lowest level in a year. Th e share of “transactors” (those who pay their monthly balance in full each month) rose 0.6 percentage point to 29.4 percent of all accounts, while 27.5 percent of accounts were dormant. Th e eff ective fi nance charge yield — which measures interest payments relative to total outstanding credit in the market — rose 13 basis points to 11.88 percent, but remains well below recession-era levels. Th is increase is consistent with the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points in March. Although credit card use is rising, the report found that consum-ers appear to be prudently managing credit card debt. As a share of disposable income, credit card credit outstanding rose 13 basis points to 5.46 percent in the second quarter following a seasonal decline in the fi rst quarter. Despite the increase, this metric remains well below pre-recession levels and has hovered below 5.5 percent since 2012. “Recent growth in the credit card market mirrors improvements in the overall econ-omy,” Sharp said. “Consumer confi dence is elevated, unemployment is at a 16-year low, and wages are ris-ing — all positive signs for consumer fi nancial health. Consumers remain well-positioned to manage their credit card accounts and build credit.” D FARM PROFITS FALL BUT AGRICULTURAL LOAN APPROVAL RATE REMAINS HIGH eclining farm profi ts in the last 12 months were reported by 82 percent of agricultural lenders responding to a joint survey by the American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac. Despite the continued decline, the survey of more than 580 agricultural lenders revealed that the agricultural loan approval rate is 84 percent. “We were encouraged to see that lenders remain ready to as-sist farmers and fulfi ll their credit needs despite the drag in the agricultural economy,” said Brittany Kleinpaste, director of eco-nomic policy and research at ABA. “Overall, the data showed that agricultural lenders are a little more optimistic about what’s ahead for their customers than they were in December of 2016.” While a high percentage of ag lenders continue to report a de-cline in farm profi tability, 7 percent fewer reported a decline com-pared to the December 2016 ABA/Farmer Mac survey. However, the drivers of industry stress remain the same. Ninety-three percent of lenders indicated commodity prices are a top concern. Grain and dairy remained the sectors that lenders are most concerned about, while lenders reported less concern for the cattle and hog sectors than in the previous survey. Other top concerns are liquidity (87 percent), farm income (85 percent), farm leverage (77 percent) and weather (56 percent). On average, survey respondents exhibited more confi dence in stable land values than in the December 2016 survey. Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported stable values in the fi rst half of 2017, and 51 percent expected no major changes in the second half of 2017. Lenders reported that a high percentage of average quality land (41 percent) and cash rents (32 percent) are above fair market value in their area. “Inherently, farm real estate is highly localized and values de-pend on region and land productivity; however, overall, lender sentiment regarding the strength and stability of farmland val-ues is consistent with USDA and Federal Reserve data,” said Jackson Takach, Farmer Mac’s in-house economist. During the past six months, the majority of lenders (51 percent) noted an increase in the demand for agricultural operating loans, while there was no notable change in the demand for agricultural real estate loans (57 percent) compared to the previous survey. In the next six months, 53 percent of lenders expect a continued in-crease in agricultural operating loan demand, and 60 percent expect demand for agricultural real estate loans to remain unchanged. When asked about challenges facing their own institutions, lenders indicated that credit quality and deterioration of agri-cultural loans are their top concerns. Competition from other lenders was also among lenders’ top concerns facing their insti-tutions, particularly in the South. Respondents also indicated a high level of concern over the lack of qualifi ed agricultural lending staff , most notably in the West. Th ere are a variety of specialty crops farmed in the West that require a lender to have certain expertise, which may make it diffi cult to identify and recruit new employees. Some lenders noted concerns regarding loan demand. A few lenders indicated that heavy loan demand has forced institu-tions against their lending caps, while others said consolidation of the farm economy due to the lack of individuals available to replace retiring farmers could lead to weakening loan demand. To view the full Agricultural Lender Survey report visit aba.com/agsurvey. 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