How Your Financial Institution Can Help You Dig Out of Debt

High interest rates and inflation have helped add to Americans’ credit card debt. Your bank or credit union might be able to help you dig out.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Throughout my career, I have observed firsthand the ebbs and flows of the economy and its profound impact on the financial lives of consumers. In recent years, a troubling trend has emerged: a significant rise in the reliance on credit cards, fueled by soaring prices for essentials. This shift has pushed many Americans into deeper debt, as highlighted by the New York Federal Reserve, which shows a record $1.1 trillion in U.S. credit card balances in the fourth quarter of 2023.

With 45% of American adults burdened by credit card debt, the situation is dire. The about 25% year-over-year surge in credit card balances, coupled with a 16% drop in total repayments, is alarming. These figures are not just mere statistics; they symbolize a potential long-term financial crisis for consumers. The challenge is multifaceted, fueled by an environment of high interest rates and inflation, which only serves to prolong the debt cycle for many.

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Kevin Brauer, MBA, CPA, CMA
President and CEO, Affinity Federal Credit Union

Kevin Brauer, a distinguished finance industry professional with over three decades of experience, has been at the helm of Affinity Credit Union as CEO and President since January 2023. His substantial contribution to Affinity over the past seven years has been instrumental in propelling the firm's value proposition and innovating its financial well-being initiatives. Brauer leads Affinity's dedicated team of 500 employees at its Basking Ridge, N.J., headquarters and throughout its 18-plus branches.