Many banks in the Northeast continued to show high delinquency rates on home loans in the first quarter.

Almost two-thirds of the 25 commercial banks with the highest incidence of payments at least 90 days past due were in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England, reflecting continuing economic problems in the region.

Bankers Trust Leads List

Surprisingly, only two California banks, both small, were in the top 25. Problem loans have have continued to be high in the state because of its battered economy. A BankAmerica Corp. unit, Las Vegas-based Bank of America Nevada, did show high delinquencies, but on a small portfolio.

Leading the first-quarter list was Bankers Trust New York Corp., with delinquencies of 12.84% on a portfolio totaling $109 million. Given the small size of the holding, however, the problem loans pose little risk to the giant commercial bank.

More significant was the 7.09% delinquency rate reported by Citibank, New York, on a portfolio of $7.4 billion. Citibank (New York State), a unit in Pittsford, N.Y., also reported high delinquencies.

The Citicorp units are still suffering from aggressive marketing of adjustable-rate mortgages.

Tough Road Seen

Delinquencies have been declining nationally in recent quarters, and forecasts generally call for continued improvements.

A recent study by Fitch Investors Service Inc. predicted that the Northeast, while improving, would experience the highest foreclosures in the nation over the next five years.

Foreclosures in California were expected to return to about the national average, Fitch said.

The figures in the table above are compiled from regulatory filings and may differ from numbers provided by the banks in quarterly financial statements.

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