Smart Borrower Blog

Consumers Pull Debt Delinquencies Down to Record Low

Apr 16th, 2014 @ 7:27 PM by Amber Nelson

Americans managed their debts better in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a new report from the American Bankers Association, with significant improvements in all home-related loan delinquencies. The ABA’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin reported that its composite ratio of delinquencies in eight types of open-end installment loans fell to 1.59 percent of all loans in the fourth quarter of 2013, a new record low, down from 1.63 percent in the third. By comparison, the average rate of loan delinquencies (30 days or more past due) over the past 15 years has been 2.34 percent. Of the eight... Read full article »

Small Business Lending Fell to 5-Month Low

Apr 9th, 2014 @ 11:13 PM by Amber Nelson

Unseasonably harsh weather restricted U.S. small businesses from borrowing more in February, according to a recent index, more an indication of a temporary economic pause rather than a major financial downturn. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index – a measure of total small business lending volume – dropped to a reading of 110.5 in February, a level not seen since last September, down from 116.5 in January. Smaller firms stop borrowing during hard times because they either scale back their operations or lending restrictions become tighter. All the winter storms have dampened economic activity enough, including small business loan... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Refinancing Continues to Fall As Rates Move Higher

Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 7:58 PM by Amber Nelson

Higher mortgage interest rates are taking a bite out of refinancing benefits, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, bringing down the share of refinance applications. During the week ended March 28, total mortgage applications fell 1.2 percent based on the MBA’s Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, from the previous week. Last week, the index fell 3.5 percent. Application volume has fallen for three straight weeks. In mid-February it plummeted to a two-decade low. A decline in requests for refinance loans led the way for the overall decrease as the Refinance Index fell 3 percent, while the Purchase... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

January Rise in Small Business Borrowing Points to Stronger Economy

Mar 26th, 2014 @ 8:25 PM by Amber Nelson

While bad weather seemed to keep some parts of the economy from improving in January, the small business sector kept moving forward with more borrowing and falling loan delinquencies, according to recent data. The Thomson Rueters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index showed a 4 percent increase in January to 117.2 compared with the previous year. Borrowing was down from December however, when it reached a seven-year high. “It was unexciting growth but it was growth nonetheless,” PayNet founder Bill Phelan said in a statement. He also added, “January investment is especially promising in light of other weak financial releases in January,... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Consumers Now Pay Mortgage before Credit Cards

Mar 19th, 2014 @ 12:45 PM by Amber Nelson

American consumers have once again made a shift in their financial priorities, putting auto debt in the top slot, followed by mortgage debt and credit card loans in last. While consumers have always paid their car loans first, since September 2008 and onset of the financial crisis, Americans lost massive equity in their homes and weren’t quite as concerned about paying off their mortgages.  Yet now mortgages have again replaced credit card payments as the second most important debt, according to a new study from TransUnion. “One of the biggest impacts of the Great Recession to the credit system was... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

2013 Was Record House-Flipping Year

Mar 12th, 2014 @ 12:36 PM by Amber Nelson

With home prices rising so quickly last year, the number of flipped homes in 2013 hit a record high, according to housing data firm RealtyTrac. Last year, there were 156,862 U.S. homes flipped – those bought and resold within six months for a higher price – a 16 percent increase from 2012 and a 114 percent gain from 2011. Flipped homes represented 4.6 percent of all homes sales in 2013, up from 4.2 percent in 2012 and 2.6 percent in 2011. “Strong home price appreciation in many markets boosted profits for flippers in 2013 despite a shrinking inventory of lower-priced... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Recent Subprime Auto Loans Starting to Sour

Mar 5th, 2014 @ 9:16 PM by Amber Nelson

After years of falling delinquencies on U.S. car loans, there are signs that loosening lending standards may have been too lenient on those with the poorest credit ratings, according to ratings company Standard & Poor’s. A recent S&P report found that 7.59 percent of loans in all auto-loan backed securities – bundles of car loans sold on the secondary market to investors – were delinquent by 30 days or more at the end of September, an increase of 1.43 percent from the previous year. The late payment rate hasn’t been that high since at least 2010. It is believed that... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Lenders Look to Student Loan Refinancing Again

Feb 26th, 2014 @ 8:37 PM by Amber Nelson

After several years of shying away from any extra risk, many banks and lenders are now starting to refinance student loan debt again. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Discover Financial Services said it will begin consolidating private student loans later in 2014 and RBS Citizens Financial Group Inc. has already started refinancing private student loans as of January. If this trend continues among big banks and lenders it will be a marked change from the past seven years and a relief to many struggling graudates. According to Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president at the student loan-tracking firm Edvisors.com,... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Household Debt Increases – Is This Good or Bad?

Feb 19th, 2014 @ 1:27 PM by Amber Nelson

Americans took on $241 billion more in debt during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a 2.1 percent from the previous quarter and the largest quarterly jump since the end of 2007. Compared with the year before, debt also rose $180 billion. The new data has left economists wondering: Does the increase represent an America that is more financially stable or less? “This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels suggesting that after a long period... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Mortgage Delinquencies Reach 5 Year Low But Still Too High

Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:09 PM by Amber Nelson

The percentage of Americans behind on their mortgage payments fell to a five-year low during the last quarter of 2013, but the rate remains double what it was before the mortgage meltdown, according to credit data company TransUnion. The rate of mortgages that were delinquent by 60 days or more dropped to 3.85 percent at the end of last year, down from 4.09 percent in the 2013 third quarter. The new rate is also down 24 percent from the previous year when the rate was 5.08 percent. Improvements in delinquency rates were felt through the nation will every state experiencing... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.

Mortgage Applications Remain Low Even As Rates Drop

Feb 5th, 2014 @ 9:54 PM by Amber Nelson

Even after an entire month of falling mortgage interest rates, the number of homebuyers and refinancers has not increased much, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA’ s index of mortgage application volume inched up just 0.4 percent during the week ended January 6. A 4 percent drop in home purchase applications was mitigated by a 3 percent increase in refinance requests. During the same week, the MBA found that the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 4.47 percent from 4.52 percent the previous week. And according to mortgage backer Freddie Mac, interest rates are... more »

About Amber Nelson
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.