Nearly one in four subprime mortgage deals issued in 2006 had a delinquency rate of at least 8 percent as of December, according to a recent report issued by Credit Suisse that looked at loans at least 60 days past due. â€œWith rising default rates among subprime borrowers, lenders will be faced with the potential for increased litigation and an ever-growing hostile regulatory environment,â€? said Andrew K. Stutzman, mortgage & lending litigation chair at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, a 160-plus attorney firm headquartered in Philadelphia. â€œI think borrowers will look for any avenue they can to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure, and some will choose litigation as a way to keep their house and credit in tact,â€? Stutzman said. â€œAs I see it, mortgage companies will not sit idly by and settle these suits, but will defend them vigorously.â€? Subprime mortgages comprise about 12 percent of the roughly $8.4 trillion U.S. mortgage market, up from 7.5 percent of the market in late 2001, according to a report by First American LoanPerformance, a San Francisco research firm. â€œAs we've seen the last few months, lenders that derive 100 percent of their business from the subprime market could be in serious financial distress. This instability will result in more consolidation and less competition among lenders â€“ both prime and subprime,â€? added Stutzman. â€œUnfortunately, less competition among lenders means reduced access to credit for many of the borrowers who need it most.â€? Stradley Ronon's mortgage & lending litigation practice group represents financial services and other clients in litigation, lending and class-action claims. Stutzman represents clients in alleged predatory-lending discrimination and Truth in Lending Act claims in both regional and national courts. For more information, visit http://www.stradley.com.