Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

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Citigroup pares down REO by 5% in fourth quarter

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Citigroup (C) reported $826 million in real estate repossessed through foreclosure in the fourth quarter, down 5% from a year ago and the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009. The bank reported $1.3 billion in net income for the fourth quarter to end what Citi CEO Vikram Pandit called a "turnaround" year. Citigroup decreased its REO by 6% from the previous quarter. Levels peaked in the first quarter of last year at $881 million worth of foreclosed homes that needed to be resold. It spiked at the end of 2009 from $284 million in the third quarter to $874 million by the end of that year. In the fourth quarter of 2009, Citi reported $7.5 billion in losses. The bank reported $19.4 billion in nonaccrual loans for the fourth quarter of 2010, down 39% from a year ago and 13% from the previous quarter. Net credit loss on North American real estate was $1.2 billion, down 9% from the previous quarter as the bank continued to wind down the amount of delinquent loans it holds. The amount of mortgage loans in 30-plus day delinquency dropped 7% from the previous quarter, while those in 90-plus day delinquency dropped 17%. It did not report the dollar amount. "The decline in delinquencies was driven by asset sales of first mortgages and modification programs," the bank said in its earnings statement Tuesday. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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