Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foreclosure's Wake: The Credit Experiences of Individuals Following Foreclosure (FRB)

By Kenneth P. Brevoort and Cheryl R. Cooper

Abstract: While a substantial literature has examined the causes of mortgage foreclosure, there has been relatively little work on the consequences of foreclosure for the borrowers themselves. Using a large sample of anonymous credit bureau records, observed quarterly from 1999Q1 through 2010Q1, we examine the credit experiences of almost 350,000 borrowers before and after their mortgage foreclosure. Our analysis documents the substantial declines in credit scores that accompany foreclosure and examines the length of time it takes individuals to return their credit scores to pre-delinquency levels. The results suggest that, particularly for prime borrowers, credit score recovery comes slowly, if at all. This appears to be driven by persistently higher levels of delinquency on consumer credit (such as auto and credit card loans) in the years that follow foreclosure. Our results also indicate that the experiences of individuals whose mortgages entered foreclosure from 2007 to 2009 have followed a similar path to borrowers foreclosed earlier in the decade, though post-foreclosure delinquency rates for the recently foreclosed have been higher and, consequently, credit score recovery appears to be taking longer.

Download here: www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2010/201059/201059abs.html

Strategic Default on First and Second Lien Mortgages During the Financial Crisis

By Julapa Jagtiani and William W. Lang (Philadelphia Fed)

Abstract: Strategic default behavior suggests that the default process is not only a matter of inability to pay. Economic costs and benefits affect the incidence and timing of defaults. As with prior research, the authors find that people default strategically as their home value falls below the mortgage value (exercise the put option to default on their first mortgage). While some of these homeowners default on both first mortgages and second lien home equity lines, a large portion of the delinquent borrowers have kept their second lien current during the recent financial crisis. These second liens, which are current but stand behind a seriously delinquent first mortgage, are subject to a high risk of default. On the other hand, relatively few borrowers default on their second liens while remaining current on their first. This paper explores the strategic factors that may affect borrower decisions to default on first vs. second lien mortgages. The authors find that borrowers are more likely to remain current on their second lien if it is a home equity line of credit (HELOC) as compared to a closed-end home equity loan. Moreover, the size of the unused line of credit is an important factor. Interestingly, they find evidence that the various mortgage loss mitigation programs also play a role in providing incentives for homeowners to default on their first mortgages.

Download here: www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2011/wp11-3.pdf

Mortgage Servicing (Adam Levitin and Tara Twomey)

Abstract: This Article argues that a principal-agent problem plays a critical role in the current foreclosure crisis. A traditional mortgage lender decides whether to foreclose or restructure a defaulted loan based on its evaluation of the comparative net present value of those options. Most residential mortgage loans, however, are securitized. Securitized mortgage loans are managed by third-party mortgage servicers as agents for mortgage-backed securities ("MBS") investors.

Servicers‘ compensation structures create a principal-agent conflict between them and MBS investors. Servicers have no stake in the performance of mortgage loans, so they do not share investors‘ interest in maximizing the net present value of the loan. Instead, servicers‘ decision of whether to foreclose or modify a loan is based on their own cost and income structure, which is skewed toward foreclosure. The costs of this principal-agent conflict are thus externalized directly on homeowners and indirectly on communities and the housing market as a whole.

This Article reviews the economics and regulation of servicing and lays out the principal-agent problem. It explains why the Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP") has been unable to adequately address servicer incentive problems and suggests possible solutions, drawing on devices used in other securitization servicing markets. Correcting the principal-agent problem in mortgage servicing is critical for mitigating the negative social externalities from uneconomic foreclosures and ensuring greater protection for investors and homeowners.

Download the paper here: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1324023

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Foreclosure’s Wake: The Credit Experiences of Individuals Following Foreclosure

By Kenneth P. Brevoort (FRB) and Cheryl R. Cooper (The Urban Institute)

Abstract: While a substantial literature has examined the causes of mortgage foreclosure, there has been relatively little work on the consequences of foreclosure for the borrowers themselves. Using a large sample of anonymous credit bureau records, observed quarterly from 1999Q1 through 2010Q1, we examine the credit experiences of almost 350,000 borrowers before and after their mortgage foreclosure. Our analysis documents the substantial declines in credit scores than accompany foreclosure and examines the length of time it takes individuals to return their credit scores to pre-delinquency levels. The results suggest that, particularly for prime borrowers, credit score recovery comes slowly, if at all. This appears to be driven by persistently higher levels of delinquency on consumer credit (such as auto and credit card loans) in the years that follow foreclosure. Our results also indicate that the experiences of individuals whose mortgages entered foreclosure from 2007 to 2009 have followed a similar path to borrowers foreclosed earlier in the decade, though post-foreclosure delinquency rates for the recently foreclosed have been higher and, consequently, credit score recovery appears to be taking longer.

Download here: www.fdic.gov/bank/analytical/cfr/mortgage_future_house_finance/papers/Brevoort.PDF

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Credit Score Is a Ranking, Not a Score (Cleveland Fed)

Credit scores are used in nearly every part of our lives, from applications for car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and car insurance to even some hiring decisions. It is well established that people with higher scores get better loans, have better jobs, and pay lower insurance premiums than people with lower scores. Because credit scores matter so much, many consumers regularly monitor their scores, and some try to improve them. But when people start paying closer attention, they are often puzzled by how and why their scores change over time.

Credit scores can be hard to figure out. They can change even when one’s behavior has not. Or the same exact credit score can qualify a borrower for a loan one year but not be high enough the next. Part of the apparent unpredictability comes from the common misunderstanding that a credit score is a rating of one’s creditworthiness. Actually, it is a ranking of one’s creditworthiness compared to the rest of the population in the United States at any point in time. In other words, your score depends not only on your credit behavior but also on the behavior of others. If your score changes over time, it means your rank-order among other consumers has changed.

Knowing more about who produces credit scores and how they are calculated can help consumers understand, interpret, and manage their scores. So read on:

www.clevelandfed.org/research/Commentary/2010/2010-16.pdf


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Addressing the Impact of the Foreclosure Crisis (FRB Press release)

A new publication, Addressing the Impact of the Foreclosure Crisis, details the innovative, community-based foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization activities sponsored by the Federal Reserve as part of its Mortgage Outreach and Research Efforts (MORE) initiative.

The presidents of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks worked collaboratively with the Board of Governors to launch MORE in 2009. The initiative seeks to employ the Federal Reserve System's substantial expertise in mortgage markets in ways that are useful to policymakers, community organizations, financial institutions, and the public.

Highlights of the MORE group's work include bringing together housing advocates, lenders, academics, and key government officials to discuss foreclosure issues and develop solutions; partnering with the U.S. Departments of Labor and Treasury and the HOPE NOW Unemployment Task Force to assist unemployed homeowners at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure; developing online Foreclosure Resource Centers at each Reserve Bank and the Board of Governors; and sponsoring and distributing research on the foreclosure crisis, including studies on financial literacy and foreclosure prevention.

Additional information about the System's MORE activities is available in the online version of Addressing the Impact of the Foreclosure Crisis. Leaving the Board

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Review of Statistical Problems in the Measurement of Mortgage Market Discrimination and Credit Risk

By Anthony M. Yezer

Abstract: This paper examines the fundamental assumptions within the statistical analysis of discrimination and credit risk and the impact these flawed models had on the mortgage market ranging from false findings of discrimination to incorrectly detecting the future rise of default rates. Serving as a valuable resource to identify the flaws that continue to be overlooked in today's analyses, the paper promotes the improvement of the measurement of mortgage market discrimination and credit risk for a more accurate assessment.

Download here: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1684216