Swedes’ unpaid debts continue to pile up

Swedes’ cumulative unpaid debts reached a new record of 62.2 billion kronor ($7.9 billion) in June, with Swedes at the higher end of the earnings scale finding it increasingly hard to pay their bills.

In the past year, the level of unpaid debt registered with Sweden’s Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden), which assists creditors and merchants in the collection of unpaid debts, has risen by 10 percent, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

At the end of June, there were 361,000 individuals in Kronofogden’s register, an increase of 2.6 percent since last year.

“Certainly a number of groups have taken on more credit when the economy was strong,” Jonas Åkerman, deputy CEO of the Soliditet business information company which carried out the study, told the newspaper.

“The financial crisis has led to bankruptcies and layoffs. More people are finding it hard to pay their debts.”

Two groups which have seen their presence on Kronofogden’s register balloon considerably are women, and those earning more than 400,000 kronor ($50,000) per year.

In the last year, the number of women with difficulties paying their debts has increased by 40 percent more than the corresponding figure for men, the study showed.

Similarly, the number of people earning just above Sweden’s average monthly white-collar private sector wage of 32,000 kronor has increased by 27 percent.

“This group normally has the ability to pay but is now going through a change in their income. If you go from a monthly salary of 40,000 kronor to unemployment insurance payments, it can often be difficult to keep up with paying things like a mortgage and consumer debt,” Åkerman told DN.

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