An analysis of government guarantees and the functioning of asset-backed securities markets
Mortgage securitization has been tried several times in the United States and each time it has failed amid a credit bust. In what is now a familiar recurring history, during the credit boom, underwriting standards are violated and guarantees are inadequately funded; subsequently, defaults increase and investors in mortgage-backed securities attempt to dump their investments. ; We focus on a specific market failure associated with asset-backed securitization and propose a tailored government remedy. Our analysis of loan market equilibriums shows that the additional liquidity provided by ...
Financing Affordable and Sustainable Homeownership with Fixed-COFI Mortgages
The 30-year fixed-rate fully amortizing mortgage (or ?traditional fixed-rate mortgage?) was a substantial innovation when first developed during the Great Depression. However, it has three major flaws. First, because homeowner equity accumulates slowly during the first decade, homeowners are essentially renting their homes from lenders. With this sluggish equity accumulation, many lenders require large down payments. Second, in each monthly mortgage payment, homeowners substantially compensate capital markets investors for the ability to prepay. The homeowners might have better uses for this ...
FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Great Recession
Did government mortgage programs mitigate the adverse economic effects of the financial crisis? We find that counties with greater participation in traditional government mortgage programs experienced less severe economic downturns during the Great Recession. In particular, counties with higher levels of participation in FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac lending had relatively smaller increases in mortgage delinquency rates; smaller declines in purchase originations, home sales, home prices, and new automobile purchases; and smaller increases in unemployment rates. These results hold both in ...
Is mortgage lending by savings associations special?
In this paper, we investigate whether elimination of the savings association charter might reduce lending to nontraditional mortgage borrowers. We present a theoretical model of lender portfolio choice, in which nontraditional lenders have some market power and traditional lenders are price-takers in the mortgage market. The comparative statics indicate differences between nontraditional and traditional lenders in terms of their asset allocation responses to changes in borrower income and house prices. Empirical tests indicate the absence of such differences between savings associations and ...
The competitive effects of risk-based bank capital regulation: an example from U.S. mortgage markets
Basel II bank capital regulations are designed to be substantially more risk sensitive than the current regulations. In the United States, only the largest banks would be required to adopt Basel II; other depositories could choose to adopt such standards or to remain under the Basel I capital standards. We consider possible effects of this two-pronged or "bifurcated" approach on the market for residential mortgages. Specifically, we analyze whether those institutions that adopt Basel II will enjoy lower costs than nonadopters and whether they have an incentive to retain mortgages in their ...
Does the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) cause banks to provide a subsidy to some mortgage borrowers?
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) encourages lenders to make mortgage loans to certain classes of borrowers. However, the law does not apply to all lenders, and lenders do not necessarily receive credit for all loans made to borrowers of a particular class. We use this variation to test whether or not CRA-affected lenders cut interest rates to CRA-eligible borrowers; in other words, we test for the presence of a regulation-driven subsidy. Our theory suggests that loans made by commercial banks and savings associations (``relationship lenders'') and mortgage companies (``transaction ...
Can retail depositories fund mortgages profitably?
The GSE implicit subsidy and the value of government ambiguity
The housing-related government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the "GSEs") have an ambiguous relationship with the federal government. Most purchasers of the GSEs' debt securities believe that this debt is implicitly backed by the U.S. government despite the lack of a legal basis for such a belief. In this paper, I estimate how much GSE shareholders gain from this ambiguous government relationship. I find that (1) the government's ambiguous relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac imparts a substantial implicit subsidy to GSE shareholders, (2) the implicit government ...