MINNEAPOLIS, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FICO (NYSE: FICO), the leading provider of analytics and decision management technology, today announced additional results from its latest quarterly survey of bank risk professionals, finding that a plurality of respondents (46 percent) expected the volume of strategic defaults in 2012 to surpass 2011 levels, as more than 25 percent of U.S. homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.
"After five years of a brutal housing market, many people now view their homes more objectively and with less sentimentality," said Dr. Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs. "Regardless of legal or ethical issues around strategic defaults, lenders must account for this risk when they evaluate mortgage applications in declining markets. Many homeowners who find themselves upside down on mortgages in the future are likely to consider strategic default as an acceptable exit strategy."
Concerns about strategic defaults were also reflected in response to a question about the consumer payment hierarchy. When asked if the current generation of homeowners considers their mortgage to be their most important credit obligation, 49 percent of bankers said no. By comparison, 29 percent said yes.
Signs of stability despite worries about strategic defaults
Although concerns remain regarding strategic defaults, other signs point to growing stability in the housing market. More respondents (26 percent) expected delinquencies on mortgages to decline in the coming months than at any previous time in the two years FICO has been conducting this survey. Furthermore, 53 percent of respondents said the housing market would improve by the end of 2012, compared to 24 percent who said the market would deteriorate.
"Lenders seem to believe the housing market is starting to stabilize," said Jennings. "Defaults, whether strategic or not, continue to be problematic. However, a gradually improving job market could begin changing the dynamics in housing. If job creation continues, banks will be more likely to embrace mortgage lending once again. A healthy job market is essential for improving the quality of mortgage applications and reducing default risk."
Credit gap expected to persist
A majority of survey respondents (56 percent) expected the supply of credit for residential mortgages to fall short of demand over the next six months. A similar majority (53 percent) expected the supply of credit for mortgage refinancing to fall short of demand, indicating that lenders remain cautious about the risks in the real estate market.
A detailed report of FICO's quarterly survey results is available at http://www.prmia.org/PRMIA-News/Fico-1stQuarterApr2012a.pdf. The survey included responses from 263 risk managers at banks throughout the U.S. in February 2012. FICO and PRMIA extend a special thanks to Columbia Business School's Center for Decision Sciences for its assistance in analyzing the survey results.
The Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRMIA) is a higher standard for risk professionals, with 65 chapters and more than 80,000 members worldwide. A non-profit, member-led association, PRMIA is dedicated to defining and implementing the best practices of risk management through education, including the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) designation and Associate PRM certificate; webinar, online, classroom and in-house training; events; networking; and online resources. More information can be found at www.PRMIA.org.
FICO (NYSE:FICO) delivers superior predictive analytics solutions that drive smarter decisions. The company's groundbreaking use of mathematics to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries and revolutionized the way risk is managed and products are marketed. FICO's innovative solutions include the FICO® Score — the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States — along with industry-leading solutions for managing credit accounts, identifying and minimizing the impact of fraud, and customizing consumer offers with pinpoint accuracy. Most of the world's top banks, as well as leading insurers, retailers, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, rely on FICO solutions to accelerate growth, control risk, boost profits and meet regulatory and competitive demands. FICO also helps millions of individuals manage their personal credit health through www.myFICO.com. Learn more at www.fico.com. FICO: Make every decision count™.
Except for historical information contained herein, the statements contained in this news release that relate to FICO or its business are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the success of the Company's Decision Management strategy and reengineering plan, the maintenance of its existing relationships and ability to create new relationships with customers and key alliance partners, its ability to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services, its ability to recruit and retain key technical and managerial personnel, competition, regulatory changes applicable to the use of consumer credit and other data, the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions, continuing material adverse developments in global economic conditions, and other risks described from time to time in FICO's SEC reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2011 and its last quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended December 31, 2011. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes, FICO's results could differ materially from its expectations. FICO disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
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