The value of seriously delinquent home loans held by the nation's banks climbed by $590 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to a compilation by Veribanc Inc. The Wakefield, Mass., company calculated the figures from call reports filed with the Federal Reserve Board by 10,433 banks.

While the dollar volume of delinquencies climbed 9.6%, the rate hardly budged. Payments late by 90 days or more inched up from 0.91% to 0.92%, and delinquencies on home equity loans - included in the overall rate - stayed level at 0.57%.

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