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(MSNBC) — The credit scores of millions more Americans are sinking to new lows. Figures provided by FICO Inc. show that 25.5 percent of consumers — nearly 43.4 million people — now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. It’s unlikely they will be able to get credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use. Because consumers relied so heavily on debt to fuel their spending in recent years, their restricted access to credit is one reason for the slow economic recovery.

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