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Author:Amromin, Eugene 

Working Paper
Do financial counseling mandates improve mortgage choice and performance? Evidence from a legislative experiment

We explore the effects of mandatory third-party review of mortgage contracts on the terms, availability, and performance of mortgage credit. Our study is based on a legislative experiment in which the State of Illinois required ?high-risk? mortgage applicants acquiring or refinancing properties in 10 specific zip codes to submit loan offers from state-licensed lenders to review by HUD-certified financial counselors. We document that the legislation led to declines in both the supply of and demand for credit in the treated areas. Controlling for the salient characteristics of the remaining ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-09-07

Working Paper
Complex mortgages

Complex mortgages became a popular borrowing instrument during the bullish housing market of the early 2000s but vanished rapidly during the subsequent downturn. These non-traditional loans (interest only, negative amortization, and teaser mortgages) enable households to postpone loan repayment compared to traditional mortgages and hence relax borrowing constraints. At the same time, they increase household leverage and heighten dependence on mortgage refinancing to escape changes in contract terms. We document that complex mortgages were chosen by prime borrowers with high income levels ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2010-17

Working Paper
Debit card and cash usage: a cross-country analysis

During the last decade, debit card transactions grew rapidly in most advanced countries. While check usage declined and has almost disappeared in some countries, the stock of currency in circulation has not declined as fast. We use panel estimation techniques to analyze the change in transactional demand for cash resulting from greater usage of debit cards in 13 countries from 1988 to 2003. We are able to disentangle cash?s store of value function from its payment function by separating cash into three denomination categories. We find that the demand for low denomination notes and coins ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-07-04

Working Paper
Policy Intervention in Debt Renegotiation: Evidence from the Home Affordable Modification Program

The main rationale for policy intervention in debt renegotiation is to enhance such activity when foreclosures are perceived to be inefficiently high. We examine the ability of the government to influence debt renegotiation by empirically evaluating the effects of the 2009 Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that provided intermediaries (servicers) with sizeable financial incentives to renegotiate mortgages. A difference-in-difference strategy that exploits variation in program eligibility criteria reveals that the program generated an overall increase in the intensity of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2013-27

Working Paper
Market-based loss mitigation practices for troubled mortgages following the financial crisis

The meltdown in residential real-estate prices that commenced in 2006 resulted in unprecedented mortgage delinquency rates. Until mid-2009, lenders and servicers pursued their own individual loss mitigation practices without being significantly influenced by government intervention. Using a unique dataset that precisely identifies loss mitigation actions, we study these methods?liquidation, repayment plans, loan modification, and refinancing?and analyze their effectiveness. We show that the majority of delinquent mortgages do not enter any loss mitigation program or become a part of ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2011-03

Working Paper
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois tollway

Rising traffic congestion and the need to improve operational efficiency prompted the Illinois Tollway Authority to unveil plans to reconfigure its road network for ?stop-free? electronic toll collection. Committing to an extensive construction program would have required the Tollway to ensure that enough drivers had electronic payment devices (branded as I- PASS). Conversely, without reconfigured toll gates the drivers would have had less reason to own an I-PASS. To resolve this potentially thorny chicken-and-egg problem, the Tollway put in place a new I-PASS distribution network and then ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-06-16

Working Paper
How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?

We test the hypothesis that the 2003 dividend tax cut boosted U.S. stock prices and thus lowered the cost of equity. Using an event- study methodology, we attempt to identify an aggregate stock market effect by comparing the behavior of U.S. common stock prices to that of European stocks and real estate investment trusts. We also examine the relative cross-sectional response of prices on high-dividend versus low-dividend paying stocks. We do not find any imprint of the dividend tax cut news on the value of the aggregate U.S. stock market. On the other hand, high-dividend stocks outperformed ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-06-17

Working Paper
The role of securitization in mortgage renegotiation

We study the effects of securitization on renegotiation of distressed residential mortgages over the current financial crisis. Unlike prior studies, we employ unique data that directly observe lender renegotiation actions and cover more than 60% of the U.S. mortgage market. Exploiting within-servicer variation in these data, we find that bank-held loans are 26% to 36% more likely to be renegotiated than comparable securitized mortgages (4.2 to 5.7% in absolute terms). Also, modifications of bank-held loans are more efficient: conditional on a modification, bank-held loans have lower ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2011-02

Working Paper
Access to Refinancing and Mortgage Interest Rates: HARPing on the Importance of Competition

We explore a policy-induced change in borrower ability to shop for mortgages to investigate whether market competitiveness affects mortgage interest rates. Our paper exploits a discontinuity in the competitive landscape introduced by the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP). Under HARP, lenders that currently service loans eligible for refinancing enjoyed substantial advantages over their potential competitors. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, we show a jump in mortgage interest rates precisely at the HARP eligibility threshold. Our results suggest that limiting ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-25

Working Paper
The tradeoff between mortgage prepayments and tax-deferred retirement savings

We show that a significant number of households can perform a tax arbitrage by cutting back on their additional mortgage payments and increasing their contributions to tax- deferred accounts (TDA). Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we show that about 38% of U.S. households that are accelerating their mortgage payments instead of saving in tax-deferred accounts are making the wrong choice. For these households, reallocating their savings can yield a mean benefit of 11 to 17 cents per dollar, depending on the choice of investment assets in the TDA. ; In the aggregate, these ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-06-05

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