Credit Card Debt

This is not good news, because it seems to indicate that drowning people are still using their credit cards to try and stay afloat:

The substantial drop in credit card debt in the United States since early 2009 has been widely attributed to newly frugal consumers. But analysts say that a significant portion of the decline is actually the result of financial institutions writing off billions of dollars in credit card debt as losses.

While consumers have done their part by shying away from exceeding new credit limits and turning increasingly to debit cards, the question is to what extent are consumers voluntarily reducing their balances, and to what extent are banks making the decision for them.