The delinquency rate on all residential loans fell slightly in the fourth quarter to 9.47% while "seriously delinquent" mortgages (90 days or more past due) continued to rise, according to new figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Early Friday morning the trade group tried to put a positive spin on the overall delinquency rate, its Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann declaring, "We are likely seeing the beginning of the end of the unprecedented wave of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures that started with the subprime defaults in early 2007."

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