Default rates for most types of consumer loans were down slightly in February compared to January and in every case were substantially below levels of February 2012.  The composite S&P Experian National Consumer Credit Default Index was 1.55 percent in February, down from 1.63 percent in January and 2.09 percent in February of last year. 

Among the individual loan indices only second mortgage and auto loan defaults were higher in February than in the previous month and those moved up only marginally.  Auto loans were at 1.11 percent compared to 1.10 percent in January and second mortgages rose two basis points to 71 percent.  Second mortgages had a default index of 1.20 percent and auto loans 1.22 percent in February 2012.

The first mortgage default rate fell from 1.58 percent in January to 1.48 percent in February.  That rate was at 2.02 percent a year earlier.  Bank cards had a rate of 3.37 percent, down from 3.41 percent in January and 4.41 percent in February 2012.  

"Consumer credit quality remains healthy", says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices. "These trends are consistent with other economic news - improvements in employment and overall economic activity and continuing gains in housing. Additionally, foreclosure activity continues to decline even though it remains at elevated levels compared to the period before the financial crisis.

In additional to the national indices Experian tracks five major cities all of which have improved in their composite default rates since February 2012.  Compared to January New York was down 12 basis points, Los Angeles 18 basis points, and Miami 24 although Miami had by far the highest rate at 3.21 percent.  Chicago ticked up one basis point to 2.08 percent and Dallas rose from 1.19 percent to 1.26 percent.