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Strategic Default in the Media

By: Kari Michel

The topic of strategic default has been a hot topic for the media as far back as 2009 and continues as this problem won’t really go away until home prices climb and stay there.

Terry Stockman (not his real name) earns a handsome income, maintains a high credit score and owns several residential properties. They include the Southern California home where he has lived since 2007. Terry is now angling to buy the foreclosed home across the street. What’s so unusual about this? Terry hasn’t made a mortgage payment on his own home for more than six months. With prices now at 2003 levels, his house is worth only about one-half of what he paid for it. Although he isn’t paying his mortgage loan, Terry is current with his other debt payments.  

Terry is a strategic defaulter — and he isn’t alone. By the end of 2008, a record  1 in 5 mortgages at least 60 days past due was a strategic default. Since 2008, strategic defaults have fallen below that percentage in every quarter through the second quarter of 2010, the most recent quarter for which figures are available. However, the percentages are still high: 16% in the last quarter of 2009 and 17% in the second quarter of last year.

Get more details off of our 2011 Strategic Default Report

What does this mean for lenders?


Mortgage lenders need to be able to identify strategic defaulters in order to best employ their resources and set different strategies for consumers who have defaulted on their loans. Specifically designed indicators help lenders identify suspected strategic default behavior as early as possible and can be used to prioritize account management or collections workflow queues for better treatment strategies. They also can be used in prospecting and account acquisition strategies to better understand payment behavior prior to extending an offer.

Here is a white paper I thought you might find helpful.