SILVER SPRING, Md. (6/16/10)--Consumers consider paying their mortgages a higher priority than their other debt obligations, according to a new survey. That could have some implications for credit unions' loan programs. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling's (NFCC) 2010 Financial Literacy Survey, conducted in March by Harris Interactive, revealed data that support consumers' ongoing efforts to stay in their homes, instead of walking away from their mortgages and allowing foreclosure, said NFCC. The overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed--even those in financial distress--still consider their mortgage payment a priority, the survey found. That could be good for credit unions offering mortgages, but also could suggest problems for other types of loans playing second banana in the loan chain, as members lose more income during a tough economy. The survey asked respondents: if they were unable to meet all their financial obligations, would they more likely keep their mortgage current or their credit cards current? Ninety-one percent said they would pay the mortgage first. Respondents also were asked under what circumstances, if any, they would consider it justifiable to default on a mortgage. About 23% answered that foreclosure is justifiable if the property is now worth less than what is owed on it. Another 15% said there is no justifiable circumstance under which a mortgage default would be acceptable. "Taken together, the NFCC survey data bring us some encouraging news: consumers still place a priority on making their mortgage payment," said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for NFCC. "Americans continue to prioritize their obligation to service their mortgage loan, and this is indeed good news for homeowners, mortgage lenders and the housing market overall." The survey was conducted by telephone between March 4 and March 8, among 2,028 adults eighteen years and older.