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Reproduced from TransUnion; Table: Axios Visuals

The number of borrowers not making payments on their credit cards and auto loans rose by thousands of percentage points in April as nearly 15 million credit cards and 3 million auto loans were placed in financial hardship programs.

The state of play: The numbers have surged from March, when less than 0.01% of credit cards and about 0.6% of auto loans were in the programs, according to data from credit reporting agency TransUnion.

Yes, but: The programs allow borrowers to temporarily stop making payments, suggesting voluntary elections rather than missed payments.

The big picture: TransUnion notes that its measure of consumer liquidity has increased as forbearance programs reduce monthly minimum payment obligations and free up capital for Americans.

  • The company also notes that credit card balances are decreasing as consumers reduce spending and make larger payments.
  • Credit scores generally have been stable with overall credit ratings actually increasing with fewer consumers in the subprime risk tier.

Between the lines: Mortgage delinquency rates declined slightly, with 94.4% of loan holders current in April, up from 93.7% in March, and the foreclosure rate has ticked down from March by 9.7 percentage points.

Go deeper: "Astronomical" U.S. debt from coronavirus measures will reshape the Treasury market

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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