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Author:Willen, Paul S. 

Working Paper
Why don't lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? redefaults, self-cures, and securitization

We document the fact that servicers have been reluctant to renegotiate mortgages since the foreclosure crisis started in 2007, having performed payment-reducing modifications on only about 3 percent of seriously delinquent loans. We show that this reluctance does not result from securitization: Servicers renegotiate similarly small fractions of loans that they hold in their portfolios. Our results are robust to different definitions of renegotiation, including the one most likely to be affected by securitization, and to different definitions of delinquency. Our results are strongest in ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2009-17

Working Paper
How Resilient Is Mortgage Credit Supply? Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic

We study the evolution of US mortgage credit supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the mortgage market experienced a historic boom in 2020, we show there was also a large and sustained increase in intermediation markups that limited the pass-through of low rates to borrowers. Markups typically rise during periods of peak demand, but this historical relationship explains only part of the large increase during the pandemic. We present evidence that pandemic-related labor market frictions and operational bottlenecks contributed to unusually inelastic credit supply, and that ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-4

Working Paper
Do borrower rights improve borrower outcomes? Evidence from the foreclosure process

Many have argued that laws that give borrowers additional rights can help prevent unnecessary foreclosures by giving borrowers more time to cure their delinquencies or by facilitating workouts. We first compare states that allow power-of-sale foreclosures with states that do not and find that preventing power-of-sale foreclosures extends the foreclosure timeline dramatically but does not, in the long run, lead to fewer foreclosures. Borrowers in states that allow power-of-sale foreclosure are no less likely to cure and no less likely to renegotiate their loans. We then exploit a ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2011-16

Report
The time-varying price of financial intermediation in the mortgage market

The U.S. mortgage market links homeowners with savers all over the world. In this paper, we ask how much of the flow of money from savers to borrowers goes to the intermediaries that facilitate these transactions. Based on a new methodology and a new administrative data set, we find that the price of intermediation, measured as a fraction of the loan amount at origination, is large?142 basis points on average over the 2008-14 period. At daily frequencies, intermediaries pass on price changes in the secondary market to borrowers in the primary market almost completely. At monthly frequencies, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 805

Discussion Paper
Foreclosure externalities: some new evidence

In a recent set of influential papers, researchers have argued that residential mortgage foreclosures reduce the sale prices of nearby properties. We revisit this issue using a more robust identification strategy combined with new data that contain information on the location of properties secured by seriously delinquent mortgages and information on the condition of foreclosed properties. We find that while properties in virtually all stages of distress have statistically significant, negative effects on nearby home values, the magnitudes are economically small, peak before the distressed ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 12-5

Journal Article
Tight credit conditions continue to constrain the housing recovery.

Macro Bulletin

Discussion Paper
Why did so many people make so many ex post bad decisions?: the causes of the foreclosure crisis

This paper presents 12 facts about the mortgage market. The authors argue that the facts refute the popular story that the crisis resulted from financial industry insiders deceiving uninformed mortgage borrowers and investors. Instead, they argue that borrowers and investors made decisions that were rational and logical given their ex post overly optimistic beliefs about house prices. The authors then show that neither institutional features of the mortgage market nor financial innovations are any more likely to explain those distorted beliefs than they are to explain the Dutch tulip bubble ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 12-2

Discussion Paper
Evaluating the Benefits of a Streamlined Refinance Program

Mortgage borrowers who have experienced employment disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are unable to refinance their loans to take advantage of historically low market rates. In this article, we analyze the effects of a streamlined refinance ("refi") program for government-insured loans that would allow borrowers to refinance without needing to document employment or income. In addition, we consider a cash-out component that would allow borrowers to extract some of the substantial amount of housing equity that many have accumulated in recent years.
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-08

Discussion Paper
Subprime facts: what (we think) we know about the subprime crisis and what we don’t

Using a variety of datasets, we document some basic facts about the current subprime crisis. Many of these facts are applicable to the crisis at a national level, while some illustrate problems relevant only to Massachusetts and New England. We conclude by discussing some outstanding questions about which the data, we believe, are not yet conclusive.
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 08-2

Journal Article
The rising gap between primary and secondary mortgage rates

While mortgage rates reached historic lows during 2012, the spread between primary and secondary rates rose to very high levels. This trend reflected a number of factors that potentially affected mortgage originator costs and profits and restrained the pass-through from lower secondary rates to borrowers? funding costs. This article describes the mortgage origination and securitization process and the way in which originator profits are determined. The authors calculate a series of originator profits and unmeasured costs (OPUCs) for the period 1994 to 2012, and show that these OPUCs increased ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue Dec , Pages 17-39

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