Unlike previous disaster assistance programs that were typically short in duration and localized, the COVID-19 pandemic affected millions of consumers across the country for a protracted period of time and required application of broad-based relief measures. These measures, along with federal and state stimulus and benefit payments, provided some stability to many consumers’ financial circumstances during the pandemic. It is important to consider how effective these measures have been at stabilizing consumer finances not just for those for whom these programs served as a bridge, but for those consumers who continue to need support after the programs have expired. This paper discusses several aspects of one relief measure implemented by banks during the pandemic: consumer credit card payment deferrals.

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