Default rates on loans improved in January

Feb. 18, 2014 at 11:53 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. default rates on mortgage and car loans fell in January, while credit card defaults rose slightly, Standard & Poor's and Experian said Tuesday.

The default rate for first mortgages fell from 1.27 percent in December to 1.26 percent in January. For second mortgages, the default rate eased back to 0.72 percent from 0.76 percent.

The default rate for car loans notched back one tick from 1.12 percent to 1.11 percent.

The default rate for credit car loans rose to 2.99 percent, just above its all-time low of 2.97 percent set in October 2013.

The composite index for January came in at 1.34 percent in the month, down from 1.35 percent in December.

"The severe weather conditions afflicting the country impacted economic activity," said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The weather put a crimp on retail sales. At the same time labor market conditions were "mixed" in January, Blitzer said.

"Overall economic activity is still sub par. Against this background, consumer default rates have stabilized at levels similar to those seen before the financial crisis," Blitzer said.

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