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Even High-Score Borrowers at Risk of Mortgage Default: NYTimes

Even High-Score Borrowers at Risk of Mortgage Default: NYTimes


My Comment: If one is not being foreclosed on by the Entity who holds your note why should your credit be affected in the first place? If you raise this issue to the credit agencies I wonder if they will begin to wonder themselves. To be frank the way the future is going WHO WILL WANT CREDIT or NEED ANY CREDIT SCORE! …statement not a question.

Even High-Score Borrowers at Risk of Mortgage Default

The New York Times
By BOB TEDESCHI
Published: March 10, 2010

A HIGH credit score won’t necessarily insulate borrowers from the home-foreclosure crisis, according to a new study from FICO, which creates the credit-scoring formula used by most lenders.

In fact, the report, which was released in late February, suggests that these premium borrowers might be more likely to default on their mortgages than their credit card debt should they encounter financial difficulties.

From May through October 2009, the mortgage default rate for borrowers with credit scores of 760 to 850 was 0.32 percent, versus 0.12 percent for credit cards, according to the report. (FICO considers loans 90 days or more past due to be in default.)

Of course, that mortgage-default level is still far lower than the 4.5 percent rate for all mortgage borrowers during this period, according to FICO, which is based in Minneapolis. But the numbers are nonetheless worrisome, said Rachel Bell, a director of analytics in FICO’s global scoring solutions business, because they mark the first time the mortgage default rate for this category of borrowers exceeded credit card defaults.

In 2007, the mortgage default rate for high-scoring borrowers was 0.08 percent, versus 0.10 percent for bank cards.

Housing counselors offer at least one possible explanation for the shift: some people with financial reversals who are in danger of losing their homes anyway might be more likely to pay back their credit cards, because they still need them to buy groceries and other essential items.

Ms. Bell declined to speculate about the motivations of borrowers. Because the FICO analysis did not look at specific households, she said she could not determine whether a particular family carried both a mortgage and credit cards, and defaulted on one before the other.

But she did say that the growing mortgage problem among households with high FICO scores might be linked to two areas of increasing trouble in the mortgage industry — namely, defaults on vacation homes, and so-called strategic defaults, in which owners abandon homes that are worth less than the mortgage.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which closely tracks foreclosures and defaults, says it does not track such statistics for vacation homes. But Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, said that if foreclosures had risen among vacation homes, their owners would most likely have bought the properties recently and for investment purposes.

The more value a home loses, the more likely an owner will be to consider a strategic default. A study in late 2009 by three university researchers — from the European University Institute, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago — found that when the mortgage exceeds the home’s value by less than 10 percent, homeowners rarely consider a strategic default. But if the value was just half the mortgage amount, 17 percent would abandon the house, and the loan.

FICO did not break out its recent data by state, but its regional data suggest that those with high credit scores in the Northeast were faring better than such people elsewhere. In the Northeast, borrowers with high FICO scores were still twice as likely to default on their credit cards as their mortgages. In 2005, they were four times as likely to default on their credit cards as their mortgages.

Borrowers with FICO scores of 760 and higher generally qualify for a bank’s best mortgage rate, as long as the down payment and monthly income also fall within the bank’s limits. A score of 720 is considered “prime,” and is usually the lowest rate that will allow borrowers to secure the most widely advertised mortgage rates.

FICO does not publish an average FICO score, but the company said the median score was about 720. And for the high FICO borrowers who default, even 720 is a dream score. One default drops such people into the mid-600 range, at best.

Posted in credit score, foreclosure fraud, forensic mortgage investigation auditComments (0)


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