Jenny Barchfield – ABC News, 6/15/2015
Francisco Xavier emerges from a payday loan shop, his brow more furrowed with worry than when he entered. His loan request was denied, and he has no idea how he is going to pay out-of-control bills, including credit card payments that gobble up nearly half his monthly income.
Xavier, a taxi driver, is among the rapidly burgeoning ranks of “super debtors” — people who rose into the middle class during Brazil’s nearly decade-long boom, but now find themselves drowning in debt as Latin America’s largest economy stalls, causing inflation to heat up and unemployment to rise.
Brazil’s top credit information bureaus estimate that as of April, more than 55 million Brazilians were behind on paying off credit cards or loans. That’s 37 percent of the adult population in a country of about 200 million people, and the numbers are rising. According to the SPC credit information bureau, the lists have grown by an estimated 700,000 people since January, when the top credit bureaus began working together on combined lists for the first time.