FICO warns mortgage, student loan delinquencies may rise

Bank risk professionals believe Americans who are over leveraged on mortgage, student loan and credit card debt remain a risk to the broader economy, according to a FICO report. FICO drew that conclusion from a fourth-quarter survey of bank risk professionals conducted by the Professional Risk Managers' International Association. Of those surveyed, 47% of risk managers say they expect mortgage delinquencies to rise, while 13% believe delinquencies will fall. FICO says that's more pessimistic when comparing 4Q survey results to the previous quarter. Student debt also remains a concern, with education loan debt now exceeding credit card debt nationwide. FICO says reports put outstanding student loan debt at $750 billion.  Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed in the FICO-PRMIA study believe delinquencies on student loans are expected to rise, putting additional pressure on the housing market and the overall economy. That jump in pessimism among risk managers is 19 percentage points higher than last quarter. Meanwhile, only eight percent of respondents expect a drop in mortgage delinquencies. "Evidence is mounting that student loans could be the next trouble spot for lenders," said Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO. "A significant rise in defaults on student loans would impact lenders as well as taxpayers, who could be facing big losses due to these defaults. Our survey results underscore the ongoing challenges that millions of American households face as they try to cope with their debt during these uncertain times." Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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