Mortgage performance improved at bit at national banks at end of fourth quarter; foreclosures rising slightly

Mortgage performance at banks improved slightly in 2019 from the year before, the federal regulator of national banks said Tuesday, with the percentage of mortgages that were current and performing at 96.5% at the at the end of the year, compared with 95.8 % at the end of 2018.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said reporting banks serviced about 15.7 million first-lien residential mortgage loans at year’s end, with $3.1 trillion in unpaid principal balances – representing 29.2% of all residential mortgage debt outstanding nationwide.

However, that unpaid principal amount is down from the fourth quarter of 2018, when just under $3.2 trillion was held by banks.

Also, the OCC said, foreclosures were up slightly from the previous quarter, up 3.5% (for 22,248 initiated) at the end of the third quarter and about 21,500 for the third quarter. The fourth quarter was the third in a row that the initiation of foreclosures grew, the OCC said, following higher – but relatively stable – foreclosure initiations in 2018.

OCC Mortgage Metrics Report, 4th Quarter 2019