The overall quality of first-lien mortgages serviced by large national banks and federal savings banks improved in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the prior quarter and from the same period a year ago, according to a report released today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).


The report showed 89.4 percent of mortgages were current and performing at the end of the quarter, compared with 88.6 percent the prior quarter and 88 percent a year earlier. The percentage of mortgages 30 to 59 days past due was 2.9 percent, a decline of 8.2 percent from the previous quarter and 6.1 percent from a year ago.


Seriously delinquent mortgages - those 60 or more days past due or held by bankrupt borrowers whose payments are 30 days or more past due - remained at 4.4 percent for the third consecutive quarter, down 11.6 percent from a year earlier.


The number of loans in the process of foreclosure at the end of 2012 fell below 1 million for the first time since the end of June 2009.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, servicers initiated 156,773 new foreclosures, the lowest number of new foreclosures since the OCC began reporting mortgage performance in the first quarter of 2008. The number of completed foreclosures fell to 105,875, a 7.7 percent decrease from the previous quarter and an 8.9 percent decrease from a year earlier.


Earlier this week, real estate analytics firm CoreLogic Inc. said foreclosures and delinquencies in Greater Des Moines improved in January over the same period last year, with the foreclosure rate at 2.35 percent of all mortgages, down 2.64 percent in January 2012. The mortgage delinquency rate dropped to 4.3 percent of mortgage loans being 90 days or more delinquent from 4.86 in the year-ago period.