U.S. Consumers Are Getting Deeper in Debt, BofA's Athanasia Says

(Bloomberg) -- Borrowers in the U.S. are starting to pile up more debt while keeping their credit profiles healthy for now, according to Bank of America Corp.

“People and clients are definitely levering up and we have to watch that, we have to watch layering,” Dean Athanasia, co-head of the company’s consumer and small-business operation, said Tuesday at a conference. “If I lend to them and then if four other lenders come behind and lend to them as well, then you have a credit profile that may not be optimal for that client.”

U.S. consumers’ financial obligations as a percentage of their disposable personal income has begun to climb in recent months, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

U.S. Consumers Are Getting Deeper in Debt, BofA's Athanasia Says

Athanasia said credit quality remains at “a pretty good level” despite increased borrowing by consumers.

“I’m not seeing any issues in terms of quality -- it is ticking up a little because people are re-levering,” he said. “We watch our clients and what they’re borrowing from others if they are, and make sure the next time we talk to them we’re looking at their entire portfolio.”

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