Is the purported decline in early-stage delinquencies one more "green shoot" of recovery or a head fake?

In the latest results-reporting period, many bankers touted a drop in loans that are one payment late. Bank of America Corp. said that such delinquencies had fallen for a second quarter in a row. Executives at a variety of banks, including M&T Bank Corp., Marshall & Ilsley Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc., touted the phenomenon — and said it may mean credit pressures are abating.

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