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Stories about mortgage servicers, delinquency and f o r e c l o s u r e s. Coverage of servicing lawsuits and loan servicing technology.

Prime RMBS Performance Worse, Subprime Better

Prime delinquency worse for 34th consecutive month

April 7, 2010

By staff

As late payments increased on securitized prime mortgages, subprime performance was better. But the improvement might only be temporary.

Serious prime loan delinquency on residential mortgage-backed securities surged past 10 percent in March, Fitch Ratings reported today. It was the 34th consecutive month that delinquency deteriorated.

Fitch said prime RMBS delinquency has nearly tripled from the start of the surge in the second-quarter 2007 and 2009. So far this year, the rate of prime late payments has risen 90 basis points.

Delinquency of at least 60 days on prime jumbo RMBS rose to 10.1 percent in March from 9.9 percent the prior month. The rate on securitized jumbo loans was just 4.8 percent in February 2009.

In California, where 44 percent of jumbo RMBS loans are secured, the jumbo rate rose 20 basis points to 11.8 percent. New York jumbo delinquency, however, was just 6.7 percent though up 40 BPS. Florida, with a 6 percent jumbo RMBS market share, saw the delinquency rate on those loans rise to 17.5 percent from 17.0 percent.

One bright spot, however, was delinquency on subprime RMBS -- which edged down for the first time in nearly four years to 46.3 percent from 46.9 percent in February. Still, subprime performance is worse than in February 2009, when delinquency stood at 39.8 percent.

'The improvement in subprime delinquencies may be nothing more than a seasonal anomaly of tax refunds being utilized to help borrowers catch up on late mortgage payments," Fitch Managing Director Vincent Barberio said in the news release. "Nonetheless, March roll rates fell significantly from last month and are now at their lowest level in over two years."

Fitch also noted that an increase in loan modification activity might have contributed to improved subprime performance.

Subprime delinquency of at least 60 days on all U.S. mortgages -- including securitized and portfolio loans -- was 35.14 percent in the Mortgage Bankers Association's fourth-quarter delinquency survey. The disparity highlights the better performance on portfolio loans than on loans serviced for RMBS investors.

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