Consumers careful in credit crunch

Donna Yamashita
Donna Yamashita
Edward Pei
Edward Pei

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

IWILEI (KHNL) - Worries on Wall Street to main street America, including malls. With the credit crisis crippling the country, people aren't looking to save anymore, they're just trying to survive.

"I'm looking for a 46 inch tv," said Shopper Donna Yamashita.

Donna Yamashita is shopping big at Best Buy.

Wall Street's economic crisis is crippling the entire country, shoppers are feeling the credit crunch.

"Buy what you need, don't just buy something because you want it unless you can afford it," said Yamashita.

Weeks ago, Lehman Brothers billion dollar bankruptcy paired with market uncertainty sent business finance's buckling. Banks are counting on you now more than ever to complete your part of the bargain.

" We look for the ability of the card holder, the customer, to repay their debt and the willingness or the character of the individual," said First Hawaiian Bank VP Edward Pei.

Good credit will still clear you through the crisis, but as banks tighten credit standards, bad payment history means no loans or credit. Companies like American Express recently cut spending limits of 10% of its cardholders.

"You're paying your interest, you're paying interest and you never pay your balance down unless you come into a windfall, how do you pay?," said Yamashita.

Banks say playing it safe is all about spending smart.

"A financial crisis like what we're experiencing is going to affect us all in one way or another," said Pei.

And for Donna that means the best sensible deal.

"Thank you very much, appreciate it," she said.

With 1 in 20 people delinquent on their payments, experts say key isn't just to cut up your credit cards, but pay off the balance as soon as you can.