Mortgage rates across the country remained near rock-bottom lows near the end of June with 15-year fixed mortgage rates averaging 3.20% and 30-year rates at 3.85% nationwide, according to data collected by SNL Financial. Alaskans enjoyed the lowest average rates in both categories, at 2.81% for a 15-year fixed mortgage and 3.53% for a 30-year mortgage. Delaware residents faced the highest average rates, with 15-year rates at 3.43% and 30-year rates at 4.22%.
Long-term rates should continue their stretch near historic lows, as the Federal Open Market Committee announced June 20 that it would continue ''Operation Twist'' through the end of 2012 in an effort to keep long-term rates down. The FOMC also maintained its target range for the Federal Funds rate at zero percent to 0.25% and stated that conditions warrant keeping the Fed Funds rate at ''exceptionally low'' levels through at least the end of 2014.
Three Puerto Rico-based banks offered the nation's lowest average 15-year fixed mortgages, led by San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria PR's 2.38% rate. Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA just agreed to sell its Puerto Rican operations to San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Oriental Financial Group Inc. for $500 million in cash, an approximate 3% premium to tangible book value. Following the acquisition, Oriental will have the second-most branches in Puerto Rico, according to its merger press release.
Only those banks, thrifts or credit unions with greater than $500 million in assets were considered in this analysis. Rates shown are the most current interest rates collected by SNL near the end of June. The rates are applicable to borrowers with the highest creditworthiness and 80% loan-to-value.
San Juan, Puerto Rico-based FirstBank Puerto Rico offered the second-lowest average 15-year mortgage rate in the country at 2.50%. The company's 71 active branches are spread between Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
FirstBank has shrunk its first-lien one-to-four family mortgage portfolio year-over-year, posting $2.64 billion in loans in the category at March 31, down from $2.98 billion a year earlier. Delinquency in the closed-end one-to-four family real estate portfolio has increased however, with loans either past due or in nonaccrual status accounting for 20.01% of loans at the end of March, up from 19.37% in the year-ago period.
Fort Wayne, Ind.-based STAR Financial Bank's 3.00% average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage was the lowest in the nation at June 29. The bank has 48 branches in Indiana, primarily in the northeastern part of the state between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Net interest margin has remained relatively stable for the bank over the last few years, with quarter-end numbers ranging from 3.39% to 3.94% since the end of 2006. At the end of March, the bank posted a net interest margin of 3.77%.
San Bernardino, Calif.-based Arrowhead Central Credit Union's average 30-year mortgage fixed rate of 3.13% placed the credit union in the No. 2 spot in the ranking of lowest rates. Arrowhead's total loans and leases have been on a downward trend since the credit crunch, coming in at $435.0 million at March 31 after going as high as $965.9 million at Sept. 30, 2007.
SNL collects interest rate data from a variety of sources. Financial institutions fax, email and enter their rate data into a secured system daily. In addition, SNL also collects information from a depository's website or by telephone. Whether SNL received the information from an institution directly or received it from a different source, it maintains a comprehensive system of checks and balances to verify the accuracy of the rate data. Market researcher and error checks continually monitor the data for consistency and variations, such as large basis point changes from the previous week.
Interest rate data may not reflect all pricing regions for each company and is based on current SNL coverage. Average geographic rates are based on the branch locations of the institutions for which rate data is available.
Referenced Tickers: MHC, Home Federal Bank of Tennessee, Home FSB, Commercial B&TC, OFG, Teche Federal Bank, University of Iowa Cmnty CU, Red Canoe Credit Union, Susquehanna Bank, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Dollar Bank FSB, Texas Dow Employees CU, Home Federal Bank, Marine Bank, Bank of American Fork, Arrowhead Central Credit Union, FBAK, Frst Mid-Illinois Bk & Tr NA, First FSB of Twin Falls, Wilmington Savings Fund, Mountain West Bank NA, Chelsea Groton Bank, Hills Bank & Trust Co., Bank of Springfield, Macon Bank Inc., BBVA, AuburnBank, Jefferson Federal Bank, Citizens Business Bank, Illinois National Bank, Lake Sunapee Bank FSB, Credit Union 1, SCBT, Salem Five Cents Savings Bank, Equity Bank, First Security Bank, FirstBank Puerto Rico, Pentagon FCU, Banco Santander Puerto Rico, American Midwest Bank, Potlatch No. One FCU, NASA Federal Credit Union, Clayton Bank & Trust, Scotiabank de Puerto Rico, STAR Financial Bank, Dime Bank
Information source SNL Real Estate