LendingTree Declares 2006 the Year of Smarter Borrowing

Released  March 20, 2006
By Megan Greuling

Americans are Spending More, Saving Less

Charlotte, N.C., March 20, 2006 – According to data released in January by the United States Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis, December of 2005 was the eighth straight month Americans spent more money than they earned. 2005 was the first year since the Great Depression that the nation’s personal savings rate was negative.*

“As we enter 2006, consumers are facing some challenging new phenomena: rising utility bills, rising gas prices and rising interest rates, not to mention the newly-enacted bankruptcy law and recent changes in minimum payment standards for credit cards,” said Anthony Hsieh, president of LendingTree.com. “For all these reasons and more, 2006 has become an important year for consumers to take control of their finances, and particularly to become smarter borrowers.”

Research released late last year by LendingTree.com draws further attention to these trends by examining American’s changing attitudes toward debt and savings accumulation. Called “Living with Debt: A Life Stage Analysis of Changing Attitudes and Behaviors,” the report was conducted by Dr. Robert D. Manning, Professor of Finance at the Rochester Institute of Technology and author of Credit Card Nation. It can be found online at www.lendingtree.com/livingwithdebt/.

“What we found is that, rightly or wrongly, consumers are accepting increasingly-higher levels of debt as a normal state of affairs,” said Hsieh. “This may not be a problem in a low rate environment, but with interest rates on the rise, the time is now for all of us to take a step back and ask ourselves if we’re doing all that we should to ensure we make smart borrowing and saving decisions. The good news is, for those of us who need to make changes, there are many simple ways to get started.”

The LendingTree Guide to Smart Borrowing, a free booklet that consumers can order or download online, offers a roadmap of actionable advice and information that is geared toward six specific life stages, from college students to seniors. LendingTree.com developed this resource as part of its ongoing mission to educate and inspire borrowers to make informed choices. Please visit www.lendingtree.com/livingwithdebt/guide.asp to find it.

*The Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis news release can be found at www.bea.gov/bea/newsrel/pinewsrelease.htm.

About LendingTree, LLC

LendingTree®, LLC is the nation’s leading online lending exchange, providing a marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 16 million loan requests and $109 billion in closed loan transactions. LendingTree provides access to mortgages and refinance loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards via www.lendingtree.com 800-555-TREE.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, LendingTree, LLC is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC®, GetSmart Lending® , RealEstate.com, Domania, and iNest.