At a time when the Biden administration and many economists insist that the U.S. economy is doing well, why do many Americans have so much concern? Blame high interest rates and tight credit.

By Bill Himpler opinion contributor | usatoday.com

Consumers increasingly doubt that they’ll be approved for a loan to buy a car or refinance a mortgage, with about a third saying they expect to be rejected.

The sentiment is justified; credit companies said they saw deteriorating consumer credit conditions in the first quarter of 2024, according to the American Financial Services Association’s inaugural Consumer Credit Conditions (C3) Index, the first economic survey to specifically track what consumer lenders are seeing in the U.S. economic marketplace.

Twice as many lenders reported that conditions worsened over the first three months of the year than reported that they improved.

It makes sense that consumers are increasingly concerned about their ability to borrow, because most consumers and businesses want access to credit to meet their financial needs – whether to cover unexpected expenses or to gain a degree of financial flexibility during rough patches.

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