Late payments on home loans have risen for two quarters in a row, sparking fears that lenders may be poorly prepared for any economic slowdown.

The Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported Wednesday that 3.11% of home loans were past due by 30 to 59 days at the end of the first quarter, up from 3.02% at yearend. Rises in these shorter-term delinquencies sometimes presage deeper problems in credit quality, experts said.

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