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Concentration in Mortgage Markets: GSE Exposure and Risk-Taking in Uncertain Times
When home prices threaten to decline, lenders bearing more of a community’s mortgage risk have an incentive to combat this decline with new lending that boosts demand. We test whether this incentive drove the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to guarantee riskier mortgages in early 2007, as the chance of substantial declines grew from small to signiﬁcant. To identify the eﬀect we relate new risky lending to regional variation in the GSEs’ exposure and the interaction of this variation with home-price elasticity. We focus on the GSEs’ discretion across potential purchases by ...
Unconventional Monetary Policy and Risk-Taking: Evidence from Agency Mortgage REITs
We study how the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing (QE) influenced the behavior of Agency mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs)?a set of institutions identified by the Financial Stability Oversight Council as posing systemic risk. We document that Agency mortgage REITs: [i] equity prices reacted to QE announcements and in a manner consistent with their business prospects; [ii] grew markedly during QE2 and receded during QE3 in relation to the Federal Reserve's Agency MBS purchase activity; and [iii] increased their leverage during QE3. Our findings are consistent with ...
The Effect of Large Investors on Asset Quality: Evidence from Subprime Mortgage Securities
The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?the dominant investors in subprime mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 crisis?substantively affected collateral composition in this market. Mortgages included in securities designed for the GSEs performed better than those backing other securities in the same deals, holding observable risk constant. Consistent with the transmission of private information, these effects are concentrated in low-documentation loans and for issuers that were highly dependent on the GSEs and were corporate affiliates of the mortgage ...
Credit risk transfer, informed markets, and securitization
Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) funded the U.S. housing bubble, while the ensuing bust resulted in systemic risk and the global financial crisis of 2007-09. In the run-up to the crisis, MBS pricing failed to reveal the growing credit risk. This article draws lessons from this failure that could inform the use of credit risk transfers (CRTs) to price credit risk. The author concludes that the CRT market, as currently constituted, could have appropriately priced and revealed credit risk during the bubble years because it met three key requirements: 1) transparency, through the full provision ...
Quantitative Easing and Financial Risk Taking: Evidence from Agency Mortgage REITs
An emerging literature documents a link between central bank quantitative easing (QE) and financial institution credit risk-taking. This paper tests the complementary hypothesis that QE may also affect financial risk-taking. We study Agency MREITs – levered shadow banks that invest in guaranteed U.S. Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) principally funded with repo debt. We show that Agency MREIT growth is inversely related to the Federal Reserve’s Agency MBS purchases, reflecting investor portfolio rebalancing. We also find that these institutions increased leverage during the later ...