Mortgage delinquencies on the rise

August 25, 2009 7:19:35 PM PDT
According to a new report, the rate of mortgage delinquencies is going to get worse. On the surface, the news is not good, but despite that, the report's authors say there's room for optimism.

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One of the nation's leading credit bureaus has been tracking the rate of homeowners at least 60 days late on their mortgages.

Here in the Bay Area, TransUnion says more than seven percent are currently late and that's expected to hit nearly 10 percent by the end of the year. The Bay Area's average is trending much higher than the rest of the country.

"We're really saying this is pretty much, we see how bad it's going to get and we're looking forward to when the recovery is going to begin. Many economists feel that the economy has already entered recovery," says Ezra Becker with TransUnion.

Becker says credit statistics lag the rest of the economy and that's why we won't see immediate improvement.

Also on Tuesday, Citibank released a report it says indicates progress in preventing foreclosures. The president of Citibank California talked to 7 On Your Side.

"We just released a second quarter report that shows we've been able to keep 90 percent of homeowners both in California and across the nation, in their homes who were in loss mitigation or foreclosure," says Rebecca Macieara-Kaufmann, the president of Citibank California.

Macieara-Kaufmann too sees room for cautious optimism about the economy.

"We're in uncertain times. We're not out of the woods yet. We're encouraged by this progress," says Macieara-Kaufmann.

However, a coalition of 200 consumers groups says the foreclosure crisis isn't going away. They say that won't happen until servicers reduce the amount owed on the many homes now worth less than the loan amounts.

"Let us rewrite the loan and say that you owe basically what your home is worth. We'll reduce amount of money that you owe, not the just the amount that you pay each month," says Kevin Stein with the California Reinvestment Coalition.

The California Reinvestment Coalition called on lenders to give distressed homeowners more long term loan modifications.

"None of the servicers are doing a good enough job, including Citigroup, in keep people in their homes," says Stein.

One other report to note: TransUnion says the rate of credit card delinquencies actually dropped in the second quarter nationwide to just over one percent.

"What's surprising this time around is that delinquencies went down when unemployment went up, when a lot of people were not getting those year-end bonuses, when in fact a lot of people were not getting raises," says Becker.

Last quarter the delinquency rate was 1.32 percent. Here are links to all the reports mentioned in this story.

LINKS:
www.transunion.com/trenddata
Citigroup's data report

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