Sask. still has worst non-mortgage delinquency rates in Canada: credit reporting agency

A new quarterly report from TransUnion says Saskatchewan residents continue to have the worst delinquency rates in the country when it comes to non-mortgage debts.

TransUnion report says debt levels continue to rise, but predicts improvement in 2018

On average, Saskatchewan residents still have more non-mortgage debt than other Canadians and are having a tougher time making their payments on time, according to a report from the credit rating agency TransUnion. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Holiday shoppers in Saskatchewan may need to ease off on spending if they're hoping to successfully pay off post-Christmas debts and improve the province's delinquency rate, which a consumer credit reporting agency says is the worst in Canada.

A new quarterly report from TransUnion says for the eighth quarter in a row, Saskatchewan residents have the worst delinquency rates in the country when it comes to non-mortgage debts. 

Nearly 6.9 per cent of consumers in the province are 90 days or more past due for debt payments, on everything from car loans and lines of credit to credit cards.

The national average dropped this quarter to about 5.6 per cent.

It takes the economy a while to rebound.- Matt Fabian, TransUnion

Matt Fabian, director of research and industry analysis for TransUnion Canada, said part of the reason is tough times in the oil industry.

"It has to do with being an energy province and with oil prices collapsing a couple years ago. It takes the economy a while to rebound," Fabian said.

Non-mortgage debt amounts are higher in Saskatchewan, too, at an average of $24,783 per consumer. The Canadian average is $22,413 in non-mortgage debt, TransUnion says.

Saskatchewan also trends higher for credit card debts, which Fabian attributed to the way people prioritize their debt payments.

"Canadian consumers … when they're under economic stress, tend to make sure they're paying their mortgage, auto and other loans, so credit cards typically come last."

Brighter times ahead

There is, however, a positive twist in all of this. Fabian said he expects improvement over the next few quarters as the economy recovers.

"I think we're starting to see the economy come back, but generally delinquency rates are a lagging thing," he said.

In order to continue to be able to make your debt payments, Fabian recommended simply making a budget to be aware how much debt you can manage.

"Where you have debt that's susceptible to interest-rate increase, understand that it will be increasing so can you manage that," he said.