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\\"Cream-skimming\\" in subprime mortgage securitizations : which subprime mortgage loans were sold by depository institutions prior to the crisis of 2007?
Depository institutions may use information advantages along dimensions not observed or considered by outside parties to "cream-skim," meaning to transfer risk to naive, uninformed, or unconcerned investors through the sale or securitization process. This paper examines whether "cream-skimming" behavior was common practice in the subprime mortgage securitization market prior to its collapse in 2007. Using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data merged with data on subprime loan delinquency by ZIP code, the authors examine the bank decision to sell (securitize) subprime mortgages originated in 2005 and 2006. They find that the likelihood of sale increases with risk along dimensions observable to banks but not likely observed or considered by investors. Thus, in the context of the subprime lending boom, the evidence supports the cream-skimming view.
AUTHORS: Henderson, Christopher; Calem, Paul S.; Liles, Jonathan
Insider bank runs: community bank fragility and the financial crisis of 2007
From 2007 to 2010, more than 200 community banks in the United States failed. Many of these failed community banking organizations (CBOs) held less than $1 billion in total assets. As economic conditions worsen, banking organizations are expected to preserve capital to withstand unexpected losses. This study examines CBOs prior to failure or becoming problem institutions to understand if, on average, a run on capital by insiders via dividend payouts led to greater financial fragility at the onset of the crisis. We use a control group of similar-sized banks that did not fail or become problem institutions to compare our results and to draw statistical conclusions. We use standard control variables highlighting corporate governance and managerial ownership, such as S-corporation designation and bank complexity that might create incentives more conducive to insider enrichment than to the welfare of depositors or debtholders. Although the new Dodd-Frank legislation exempted smaller banks from many proposed requirements, our results show that capital distributions to insiders contributed to community bank weakness during the financial crisis.
AUTHORS: Henderson, Christopher; Lang, William W.; Jackson, William E.
Can banks circumvent minimum capital requirements? The case of mortgage portfolios under Basel II
The recent mortgage crisis has resulted in several bank failures as the number of mortgage defaults increased. The current Basel I capital framework does not require banks to hold sufficient amounts of capital to support their mortgage lending activities. The new Basel II capital rules are intended to correct this problem. However, Basel II models could become too complex and too costly to implement, often resulting in a trade-off between complexity and model accuracy. In addition, the variation of the model, particularly how mortgage portfolios are segmented, could have a significant impact on the default and loss estimated and, thus, could affect the amount of capital that banks are required to hold. This paper finds that the calculated Basel II capital varies considerably across the default prediction model and segmentation schemes, thus providing banks with an incentive to choose an approach that results in the least required capital for them. The authors also find that a more granular segmentation model produces smaller required capital, regardless of the economic environment. In addition, while borrowers' credit risk factors are consistently superior, economic factors have also played a role in mortgage default during the financial crisis.
AUTHORS: Henderson, Christopher; Jagtiani, Julapa