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Delinquency Rate Up on Home Equity Lines

The American Bankers Association released its quarterly Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin this morning, revealing that many consumer delinquency rates were down aside from home equity lines of credit.

According to the report, delinquencies on home equity lines of credit rose to a 5 ½ year high in the second quarter of 2007, with 0.77 percent of these loans labeled delinquent in the April-June period.

Late payments rose from a rate of 0.66 percent the prior quarter, and marked their highest level since reaching 0.81 percent in 2001.

Conversely, closed-end second mortgage payment performance improved, with the delinquency rate dropping from 2.15 percent to 1.99 percent in the latest reported quarter.

These types of loans carry a fixed interest rate on a set loan amount, so borrowers can’t continue to pull from their home equity, and they don’t have to worry about rising interest rates.

Borrowers with home equity lines of credit should get some breathing room thanks to the latest fed rate cut, as most Heloc’s are tied to the prime rate, which dropped 0.5%.

All in all, most delinquency rates dropped slightly compared to the first period of the year, with the groups composite delinquency rate dropping from 2.42% to 2.27% in the second quarter.

“Consumers fared reasonably well in the second quarter despite turmoil in the subprime mortgage market,” ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said in a press release. “Relatively good numbers in income and job growth have helped to limit spillover to other consumer loans.”

While the data may seem reassuring, the true impact of the mortgage mess may not be seen until later quarters as refinancing options have recently become severely limited.

The bankers association’s survey includes more than 300 banks nationwide, and a delinquency is defined as a payment past due 30 days or more.

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