about rising delinquency rates, according to a recently released Consumer Bankers Association survey. "Lenders may be having some problems as these loans age," said Fritz Elmendorf, vice president of communications with the CBA. He reports that 23% of lenders surveyed are seeing significant increases in delinquencies among their older affordable loans. Those lenders found that credit quality declined after a two-year, 10-month aging period, on average. The 30-day delinquency rate on affordable mortgages averaged 3.70% among companies surveyed, compared with 3.25% in 1994. Overall delinquency rates for all mortgage programs among companies surveyed averaged 2.25%. Experts cite the mortgage bankers' relative newness to the field as the main cause for most problems. "It's really a servicing problem," said Doug Duncan, senior economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. "One of the things that servicers are discovering is that in some communities where there has been a big lending push, servicing is different because communication is different. About 90% of retail banks and thrift institutions offer some sort of affordable lending program to minorities and low- to moderate-income segments of their markets. Little has changed in terms of availability in the past year. Lenders responded to pressure from the Justice Department in the early 1990s with the creation of affordable mortgage programs that require smaller down payments and provide more flexible terms, subsidized rates, and credit counseling. In the past year, companies surveyed have also concentrated on increasing targeted marketing, reviewing denials, and making loan-to-value ratio and credit history requirements more flexible. "

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