Wednesday - August 9, 2017 1:10 am

Local credit union president says national consumer debt is worrisome

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Total surpasses last record, which occurred right before 2008 recession. 

The U.S. has surpassed a dubious milestone and it's not pretty.

That, according to Firefighter's Credit Union president Bruce Zmolek.

He's worried about the latest report finding credit card debt has reached its highest-level ever in the nation. It surpasses the previous record, which was set right before the meltdown of the banking industry and the near financial system collapse in 2008 at the start of the great recession.

"I'm so disappointed that we don't learn from our mistakes," Zmolek said. "As a society we're still buying everything on time.

"You just can't convince folks it's a dangerous, treacherous path when you start financing your toothpaste with the big bank."

The Federal Reserve has measured total U.S. credit card debt at $1.02 trillion.

Zmolek is constantly telling people to limit consumer debt.

"We're not only buying cars and homes on time, we're also financing what (is) called consumables - which would be gasoline, food - things that should be paid for the month that you consume it," Zmolek said.

He wonders how much of that is from consumers chasing that elusive high credit score.

"I counsel a lot of people, and they want to start off by talking about their credit score," he said with frustration. "But I don't care what that is. I wanna talk about your mounting debt and your behaviour, which is leading you to live beyond your means."

The enormous credit card debt levels before the great recession meant banks had to write off billions when unemployment surged in the nation and consumers simply defaulted or went bankrupt.

Last modified on Wednesday - August 9, 2017 6:30 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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