S&P/Experian indices show consumer credit defaults down in June
Mortgage default rates fell about 2.1% in June, as Americans lowered debt levels, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Experian indices. The index for first mortgages showed a default rate of about 2.02% in June down from 2.23% in May and lower than the 3.44% a year ago, according to data analysis by the ratings agency and credit-reporting bureau. The default rate for second mortgages decreased to 1.4% in June from 1.42% in May and 2.41% a year earlier. David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Index Committee, said default rates are declining across consumer credit categories. "More importantly for the economy, the Federal Reserve reported that revolving credit — which includes bank cards — rose in May for the first time since 2008," Blitzer said. "Combined with the improving default experience we are seeing, this is a positive sign for an economy suffering from a lack of consumer spending." He said consumer default rates in Miami rose to 5.41% in June from 5.31% the prior month. "The lingering effects of the housing bust can be seen in Miami where default rates remain higher than other cities," Blitzer said. Chicago saw the biggest increase in June with the default rate in the area climbing to 2.59% last month from 2.37% in May. The rate in Dallas inched up to 1.59% from 1.58% in May. Meanwhile the default rate in New York fell to 1.82% in June from 1.94%, and it declined in Los Angeles to 2.17% from 2.39%, according to the S&P/Experian indices. However, the rate for June in each city tracked fell substantially when compared to the year-ago period. S&P and Experian monitor the default rates of consumers with auto loans, bankcards, first mortgages and second mortgage liens. Write to Jason Philyaw.