Serious delinquencies among U.S. mortgages jumped in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter, as the percentage of current and performing mortgages fell for the seventh consecutive period, U.S. banking regulators said on Thursday.
The report by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision, which are part of the Treasury Department, said the percentage of current and performing mortgages fell to 86.4 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009.
The decline was attributable to a 21.1 percent increase in mortgages 90 or more days past due, to 4.7 percent of all mortgages in the portfolio at the end of 2009.
The increase in seriously delinquent mortgages was most pronounced among prime borrowers, with an increase of 16.5 percent in seriously delinquent mortgages during the fourth quarter.
The continued decline in performance of prime mortgages is a significant trend, given that those mortgages accounted for 68 percent of all mortgages within the portfolio. The report defined serious delinquencies as those loans 60 days or more past due and loans to delinquent bankrupt borrowers.
The report covers nearly 34 million loans totaling almost $6 trillion in principal balances and provides information on their performance through the end of the fourth quarter of 2009.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)