Lenders Optimistic About Near Term for Mortgage Lending

Mortgage lenders aren’t rolling out the red carpet on home loans just yet, but with fewer delinquencies and defaults, there’s optimism as looser credit for home loans has become a topic of board room chatter.FICO’s first quarter survey of bank risk professionals found sentiments about loan repayment and credit availability more upbeat than in the last quarter.

The survey, conducted for FICO by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA), found fewer lenders expecting a rise in delinquencies on home loans, as well as car loans and small business loans, than at any time since FICO launched its survey in early 2010. The survey also examined sentiments on student loans and credit cards.

“As unemployment falls, even modestly, and four years of de-leveraging begin to pay dividends, bankers are allowing themselves to feel some optimism,” said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs. FICO is a leader in credit scoring systems.

The survey found the number of respondents expecting mortgage delinquencies to rise during the next six months was 12 percentage points lower than last quarter – dropping from 47 to 35 percent. Similarly, only 33.1 percent expect increases in home equity line delinquencies, compared to 44.3 percent last quarter.

The overall trend in both categories has been trending more optimistic for the past eight quarters, FICO reported. Viewed another way, the number of respondents who believe mortgage and home equity line delinquencies will decrease hit an all time high, 26 percent and 23.1 percent respectively.