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More borrowers default on second liens in April

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While default rates are down mostly so far this year, borrowers with second mortgages went against trend with their default rate rising in April for the first time in five months, according to data from Standard & Poor's and Experian. The firms produce the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, which showed the default rate for second mortgages grew to 1.51% in April from 1.42% a month earlier. At the same time, first mortgages experienced a decline in defaults, with that segment's default rate dropping to 2.16% from 2.33% between March and April. "We had seen default rates fall across all major categories and most major cities during the prior six months, but given April's data that might be coming to end. The real question is whether April was temporary or are household balance sheets worsening?" said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee for S&P Indices. "In addition, there are some significant differences across credit types and MSAs. Bank card default rates went up in April, after having fallen each of the past 11 months; and the data indicate that the rate of default on credit cards is still 5.9%, more than twice any of the other loan classes," he said. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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