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Demand for Credit Strongest in Western Canada According to Equifax Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/08/14 -- Demand for credit has increased for four consecutive quarters in Western Canada, while activity in the Eastern provinces continues to slow down according to Equifax Canada's Q1 2014 National Consumer Credit Trends Report.

"Our national consumer debt load remains high around $1.4 Trillion, but it's the regional differences that stand out in the first quarter," explained Regina Malina, Senior Director, Decision Insights, Equifax Canada. "Consumer demand for credit is still on an upward trajectory particularly in Western Canada. And yet, these high debt levels remain manageable based on low default rate."

Consumer bankruptcies are down, the 90-day+ delinquency rate is down by 3.9% and the average debt is essentially flat - down by 0.5%. All of this comes in the face of consumer demand for new credit ticking up by 2.7%.

On a debt classification basis, the installment loan, and credit card sectors showed significant increases of 11.8% and 4.8% year-over-year, respectively. While more new credit cards were issued, on average consumers are carrying smaller balances.

Within the context of the Equifax report and the macroeconomic picture, adds Malina, "Economic growth continues to be steady but slow. Consumer behaviour, lenders' strategies and policymakers approaches stayed largely the same, while exports and business investment are still not at the desired levels. However, stronger U.S. demand and a weaker Canadian dollar should support future increases in export activity."

Ms. Malina further noted, "Credit is still relatively easy to acquire, while the financial system and overall economy remains stable."

Regional Demand for Credit

                               % Changes - Year-over-Year
                            2012 vs 2011                2013 vs 2012   2013
                 Q1     Q2     Q3     Q4     Q1     Q2     Q3     Q4     Q1
Ontario        -1.1%  -3.0%  -1.8%  -2.5%  -4.5%   2.2%   2.6%  -1.3%   1.1%
Quebec          7.5%   6.7%   6.0%   2.7%  -5.8%   0.6%  -0.8%  -0.8%   1.9%
West            2.7%   0.2%  -2.2%  -3.7%  -4.8%   5.3%   7.3%   4.4%   6.5%
East            2.0%   0.2%  -4.4%  -1.7%  -6.8%   2.1%   1.3%  -3.4%  -2.8%
Canada          2.6%   0.8%  -0.1%  -1.5%  -5.2%   2.6%   5.0%   0.4%   2.7%

Click here for more information

Data for this report, including scores, are sourced from the Equifax Canada data warehouse, which stores the majority of credit transactions that occur in Canada. There are over 25 million unique consumer files. Transaction volumes for data are estimated at 105 million per month. Information provided in this report was adjusted to ensure that quarterly data reflects the results as of the last month of each quarter.

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or have investments in 19 countries and is a member of the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.

For more information, please visit www.equifax.ca.

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