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TransUnion: delinquent mortgage roll rates highest in month after recession

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The number of delinquent mortgages that moved to a more serious status peaked the month after the recession officially ended, according to a study by TransUnion. The credit information company said the level of consumers who rolled their delinquency status to 60 days from 30 and to 90 days from 60 reached its highest point in July 2009. Nearly a quarter of those who were 30-days late on their mortgage payments in June 2009 became 60 days past due in July 2009, according to TransUnion, and nearly 38% of those 60-days delinquent moved to 90-days late that same month, as well. "Consumers who are past due on their mortgages are always susceptible to going into more severe stages of delinquency," according to FJ Guarrera, vice president of TransUnion's financial services business unit and an author of the study. "Coincidentally, we noted that roll rates observed in the study reached their apex one month after the end of the recession as officially determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research," Guarrera said. "This timing is a clear illustration of how credit dynamics can lag economic dynamics: although we may have left the worst of the recession behind as we entered recovery economically, from a credit perspective we were just hitting the toughest period for consumer default." TransUnion said its study also found homeowners with home-equity loans or lines of credit "may contribute to higher roll rates during trying economic times." This was especially evident in states with the "most severe recessionary effects." The 30-day-to-60-day roll rate in California rose to more than 39% from about 13% between March 2006 and March 2009. Borrowers in the Golden State with a home-equity loans or line of credit experienced a smaller increase during that period to 32.24% from 17%. "This is yet another example of the dynamic nature of the lending markets, and how consumers react to different economic, financial and social forces," Guarrera said. "The presence of a home-equity line used to be an indicator that a consumer had 'deeper pockets,' i.e. more equity and greater financial resources. Now it has become a red flag for higher risk due to over-leveraging." Write to Jason Philyaw.

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