The consumer default rate on first mortgages declined by six basis points in February from January and by 43 basis points when compared with February 2011, the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices showed.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee for S&P Indices, said the decline in the first mortgage default rate to 2.02% for February brings it back to the lows seen last summer.

The decline in second mortgage delinquencies between February and January was 10 basis points, to 1.20%. In February 2011, the default rate was 1.46%.

The composite default rate, which also includes bank card and auto loans, was 2.09% in February, compared with 2.16% in January and 2.54% for February 2011.

Blitzer said the across the board decline in the first two months of the year represents a reversal of the rising delinquency trend during the second half of 2011.

"We appear to be resuming the downward trend in consumer default rates that began in the spring of 2009. With last month's release we reported that the second half of 2011 saw a rise in consumer defaults, led by four consecutive monthly increases in first mortgage default rates. January and February's combined reports shows broad based declines in all types of default rates, which is a good way to start the year," he said.

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