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Subprime RMBS Delinquencies Fall for First Time in Four Years: Fitch

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With Greenspan faulting subprime proliferation as the trigger to the current crisis and Moody’s downgrading more than $38bn of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), Fitch Ratings reported a decline in subprime RMBS delinquencies in perhaps the only good news on the subject today. According to the credit rating agency Fitch, subprime RMBS delinquencies fell to 46.3% in March from 46.9% in February, the first decline in nearly four years. However, it did stay above the 39.8% level of a year ago. Subprime delinquencies rose for 44 straight months from its 6.2% low-point in June 2006. Vincent Barberio, managing director at Fitch, warned against calling an end to the woes. “The improvement in subprime delinquencies may be nothing more than a seasonal anomaly of tax refunds being utilized to help borrowers catch up on late mortgages,” Barberio said. Beyond subprime, troubles continued in prime RMBS, according to Fitch. Prime jumbo 60-plus day delinquencies reached 10.1% for March, up from 9.9% in February and 4.8% a year ago. Delinquencies on those loans tripled in 2009 and jumped another 90 bps this year. California led all states with 11.8% of prime jumbo loans in delinquency in March, up from 11.6% in February. California holds 44% of the prime jumbo market. Write to Jon Prior.

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