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Published: Thursday, 7/2/2009

Delinquent rate doubles on prime mortgages

BLOOMBERG

Delinquency rates on the least-risky mortgages nationwide more than doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier as U.S. efforts to help homeowners failed to keep pace with job losses, which pushed more borrowers toward foreclosure.

Prime mortgages 60 days or more past due climbed to 2.9 percent of such loans through March 31 from 1.1 percent at the same point in 2008, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision said this week.

First-time foreclosure filings on the loans rose 22 percent from the fourth quarter, the report said.

"I'm very concerned about the rise in delinquent mortgages and foreclosure actions," Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan said.

Serious delinquencies on prime loans, accounting for two-thirds of all U.S. mortgages, rose to 661,914 in the first quarter from 250,986 a year earlier. Overall, mortgages 60 days or more past due rose 88 percent from last year, the report said.

In May, foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000 for a third straight month, according to RealtyTrac Inc.



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