Latest default-rate measures show slight pressure on first liens

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First-lien mortgage defaults in August were slightly higher than in the previous month and are still lower than a year ago, but recent storms could jeopardize loan performance stability.

The default rate for first mortgages last month was 0.65%, up 3 basis points from July, but down 3 basis points from August a year ago, according to Standard & Poor's and Experian.

Second-mortgage default rates remained stable month-to-month at 0.5% but were 2 basis points lower year-to-year.

The composite score for mortgage, bank card and auto loan credit was up 3 basis points from a month ago and 1 basis point from a year ago at 0.86%.

Auto loan defaults in August were up 9 basis points from where they were the previous month, but down 6 basis points from where they stood a year ago at 0.95%.

Cards were down 12 basis points from the previous month but up 33 basis points year-over-year at 3.19%.

"Overall, consumer credit defaults show no reason for alarm," said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a press release. "Defaults on first mortgages are flat to down while defaults on auto loans have risen slightly in recent months."

However, hurricane damage creates uncertainty about the outlook for mortgage defaults and consumer credit in affected areas.

"The impact on mortgages on damaged or destroyed homes is not yet clear," Blitzer said. "Job losses and rising spending needs could lead to increased consumer credit defaults in coming months."

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Mortgage defaults Underwriting Consumer lending Auto lending Credit quality Standard & Poor's Experian