FICO Finds More Borrowers Default on Mortgages Over Credit Cards
In what it is calling a historic trend reversal, credit score provider FICO, is seeing more borrowers with a high credit score preferring to pay their monthly credit card bill over their mortgage. "We're identifying lending industry situations in FICO Score Trends that to our knowledge have never been seen before," said Dr. Mark Greene, CEO of FICO, in a statement. "Economic instability is creating unknown risk in lenders' credit portfolios as well as counter-intuitive trends in consumer behavior." The shift to a consumer preference to stay current on unsecured debt, as opposed to secured debt, began last year. In 2009, 0.3 percent of consumers with FICO scores between 760-789 defaulted on real estate loans, compared to 0.1 percent who defaulted on credit cards. In 2005, credit card delinquency risk was three times greater than today. In 2008, the lower to credit cards being just 1.6 times more likely to become 90 days delinquent than were mortgage loans. The results echo data released by credit info provider, TransUnion, earlier this month. That study from earlier this month, found the share of borrowers who are delinquent on their mortgages but current on their credit cards rose to 6.6% as of Q309 (from 4.3% in Q108). At the same time, the share of borrowers that are delinquent on credit cards but current on their mortgages slipped to 3.6% from 4.1%. Write to Jacob Gaffney.