Credit Default Rates Fall in February

MAR 19, 2013 4:40pm ET

Consumer credit quality remains healthy through the end of February as all rate categories tracked by S&P/Experian decreased on an annual basis.

Overall, the national composite credit default indice had a mark of 1.55% last month, down from 1.63% in January and 2.09% a year ago.

Meanwhile, first mortgage credit defaults fell month-over-month but second mortgage default rates rose marginally during this time period. The first mortgage default rate is now at 1.48%, a drop of 10 basis points from January, while second mortgage defaults increased by two basis points with a rate of 0.71% through February.

On a yearly basis, both mortgage indices dropped substantially, as first mortgages fell by 54 basis points and second mortgages saw a 49 basis point reduction.

Also, the bank card rate now stands at 3.37% compared to 3.41% in January and 4.41% in February 2012. Lastly, auto loan defaults rose by 1 basis point on a monthly basis to 1.11%, but descended 11 basis points from last year.

“These trends are consistent with other economic news—improvements in employment and overall economic activity and continuing gains in housing,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Additionally, foreclosure activity continues to decline even though it remains at elevated levels compared to the period before the financial crisis.”

Furthermore, three of the five cities covered by S&P/Experian showed decreases in their default rates in February led by Miami (3.21%), Los Angeles (1.63%) and New York (1.41%), which were down by 24 basis points, 18 basis points and 12 basis points, respectively.

Chicago was slightly up by one basis point, to 2.08%, and Dallas was up seven basis points with a mark of 1.26%, the lowest among the five metropolitan statistical areas studied in this report.

Miami had the highest default rate at 3.21%, a 24 basis point drop from January.

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