Tag Archives: Securitization

AIG breaks into mortgage securitization big-time with high quality first offering

When American International Group sold its mortgage-guaranty unit United Guaranty to Arch Capital Group last year, the company said that it planned to turn to residential mortgages to make up for the loss in revenue from the sale of United Guaranty.

But AIG didn’t start originating new loans. Rather, the company has been buying up high-quality jumbo mortgages, and now plans to securitize those loans.

According to a presale report from Fitch Ratings, AIG is preparing to bring its first residential mortgage-backed securitization to market – a $511.98 million offering backed by 850 jumbo mortgages.

And while AIG is new to the securitization game, the quality of the RMBS deal itself is one of the strongest since the crisis.
Read on.

UNSEALED: DOJ Confirms Holders of Securitized Loans Cannot Be Traced

Great job by 4closurefraud website!

Originally posted at http://mortgageflimflam.com
With additional edits by http://4closurefraud.org

In a filing unsealed on June 3, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirms what many of us have known for years. Nobody, not even the U.S. Government, with massive resources, can determine who owns your loan and has the right to collect on your mortgage.

The information comes from case files unsealed on June 3, 2016 by federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California in the case of the United States v. Discovery Sales, Inc. The case involves some 325 fraudulent loans originated by Discovery Sales, Inc. (DSI) between 2006 and 2008, many of which were then sold to Wells Fargo Bank and JP Morgan Chase to securitize.


The Discovery Sentencing document on page 9 states:

The originating lenders who made loans to purchase DSI properties, including Wells Fargo and  J.P. Morgan Chase, generally would not keep the mortgages and thus did not end up losing money as a result of the DSI fraud scheme. Instead, they would sell the mortgages to other banks who would package them in securities that were sold to other investors. These securities failed when the underlying mortgages went into default. It was impossible to trace the majority of the mortgage loans on the over 300 homes sold by DSI that were the subject of the FBI investigation; it would have been harder yet to identify individual victims of the fraud given that the mortgages were securitized and traded. (Emphasis added.)

To add more outrage to this case, while the government acknowledges the damages from the fraud scheme resulted in $75 million in damages, the amount being paid by DSI in restitution is $3 million to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That is all, along with an $8.5 million fine that the government will pocket. Once again the government is taking all of the money from a settlementwith a fraudulent mortgage lender, and giving nothing to the people who were damaged.

Oh, and one more thing. The “preferred lenders,” Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, who were also involved in the scheme, were not charged even though it states they knew about DSI’s “shenanigans to inflate the value of their homes” in the sentencing document:

The parties agree that the preferred mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase, were on some notice that DSI was engaged in various shenanigans to inflate the value of their homes. (Emphasis added.)

During the time of the information, DSI worked with two “preferred lenders,” Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase. Certain employees and managersof those two preferred lenders knew about the incentive programs offered by DSI and the builders, and knew that the incentives were not being disclosed in the loan files. (Emphasis added.)

DOJ and IRS could have brought banksters to their knees on fraudulent securitized loans using 26 U.S.C. § 860G(d)(1)

The Week wrote an opinion piece of a review of David Dayen’s book , Chain of Title. But, in the article written by Ryan Cooper, he discussed the penalities of securitization law in New York and federal if the securities (in this case mortgage loans that were sold to Wall Street to become a securitization trust) did not properly follow the original contract. From The Week: 

Not many noticed while the bubble was going up, but after it collapsed and the recession took hold, millions of people fell into default on their mortgages. Dayen’s book follows three private citizens, Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Syzmoniak, all of whom were sucked into the foreclosure machine after the economic crash of 2008. In desperation they began poking around their foreclosure documents, and found howling, inconceivable errors — being foreclosed on by a bank that did not own the mortgage, obviously impossible dates, missing signatures, and so on.

They investigated further, and found that their cases were by no means unique, they were just one of the tiny minority of people who bothered to contest their foreclosure. Practically every case they looked at had gargantuan holes in them. Others had it even worse — banks who had foreclosed on people whose mortgages were paid-up, or ones who had no mortgage at all. It turned out the banks had battalions of people committing systematic fraud. “Robo-signers” would attest to “personal knowledge” of homes, or forge others’ signatures, or falsely notarize documents, hundreds of times per day. The sheer speed meant that the documents were almost universally garbage, but on the rare instances a foreclosure was challenged, the banks would usually just come back later with a new set that was magically in order.

Epstein, Redman, and Syzmoniak became obsessed with the foreclosure disaster, and they joined with others to agitate for the government to step in and provide relief for homeowners. After awhile, they began to get some traction. All this obvious fraud gave the government enormous leverage. If a bank does not have proper chain of title, it is illegal to foreclose. Since it means the bank does not own the mortgage, it is theft. Under New York law, securities which did not properly follow the original contract (and they usually didn’t) would be void. And under federal tax law, income from securities without proper documentation could potentially be taxed at 100 percent. With those tools, the federal government could have easily used the threat of prosecution and taxes to force the banks to the negotiating table.

And of course, the Obama Administration agencies never bother to tax the big banks at 100% (not just settle, fine, or give non-deferred prosecutions) if income from securities didn’t have the proper documentation. Here is a brief excerpt of securitization:

The short story is that every securitization—including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitizations—requires the creation and funding of a securitization trust that must take physical possession and control of the trust property on or before the closing date of the trust.  The securitization trustee is the sole and exclusive legal title holder of the thousands of promissory notes, original mortgages and assignments of mortgage.   This transfer of the trust property, the legal res, to the trust at or around the loan origination is a necessary condition precedent to a valid securitization.  It is necessary for several reasons.

First, someone must be the “legal” owner of the mortgage loan.  Only the legal owner of the loan has the legal right to sell mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) to investors.  Second, actual physical transfer of ownership is necessary because the cash flows that go from the homeowner through the securitization trust to the MBS purchasers are tax exempt.  If the trust does not perfect legal title by taking physical possession of the notes and mortgages, the Internal Revenue Code, specifically 26 U.S.C. § 860G(d)(1), provides for a 100 percent tax penalty on those non-complying cash flows.  Third, the legal ownership of the loans must be “bankruptcy remote” that is, because bankruptcy trustees have the right to reach back and seize assets from bankrupt entities, the transfer to the trustee must be clean and no prior transferee in the securitization chain of title can have any cognizable interest in the loans.  For this reason, all securitization trusts are “special purpose vehicles” (“SPVs”) created for the sole purpose of taking legal title to securitized loans and all securitization trustees represent and certify to the MBS purchasers that the purchase is a “true sale” in accordance with FASB 140.

But it never happened.  It is all a fantasy.  No securitization trustee of any securitized mortgage loan originated from 2001 to 2008 ever obtained legal title or FASB 140 “control” of any securitized loan.  That is part of the reason FASB changed Rule 140 on September 15, 2008, on the eve of the financial meltdown.

Which is why robo-signing and falsifying documents by banks occurred..


The securitization of a mortgage loan involves multiple parties.  They are:

(1) the Borrower;

(2) the Original Lender (whomever is across the closing table from the Borrower);

(3) the Original Mortgagee (could be either the Original Lender or a “nominee” for the mortgagee, namely, Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc. (“MERS”);

(4) the “Servicer” of the loan as identified in the securitization “pooling and servicing agreement” (“PSA”) (this is usually a bank or any entity with “servicer” in its name);

(5) the “Sponsor” is an entity identified in the PSA and the first link in the securitization chain of title between the Original Lender and the other parties to the PSA;

(6) the “Depositor” is the second link in the securitization chain of title and the entity between the Sponsor and the securitization Trustee;

(7) the “Trustee” is the sole and exclusive legal title owner of the securitized loan, the entity that must take physical delivery of the securitized notes and mortgages in order for the securitization to be valid, and the entity that issues MBS certificates to the purchasers of the MBS; and

(8)  The MBS purchaser.  This is the investor who buys MBS in reliance on the representations from the Trustee that the Trustee has valid legal title to the securitized notes and mortgages and who receives tax-exempt income from this investment.

There are three general types of securitizations.

The first is public securitizations.  These are registered with the SEC.  A typical PSA registered with the SEC is found here.  The vast majority of public securitizations are governed by New York law.  All public securitizations specifically require that the Trustee accept physical delivery of the securitized notes and mortgages prior to the “closing date” of the securitization trust.   In the linked securitization, the “Series 2004-B Trust,” the definitions show that the closing date was February 26, 2004.  Section 11.4 indicates that the Series 2004-B Trust is governed by New York law.  Section 2.02 and Exhibit N show that the Trustee certified physical receipt of the notes and mortgages before the closing date.

The second is government-sponsored entity (“GSE”) securitizations.  These are in two subcategories: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitizations.

The actual securitization documents for Fannie Mae securitizations are not public.  Fannie Mae, however, publishes its securitization formshere.  For a single-family, fixed rate loan originated prior to June 1, 2007, the following “Trust Indenture” applies.  According to section 12.04 of the Trust Indenture, Fannie’s rights are governed by District of Columbia law.  As you can see from the Trust Indenture, Fannie acts as both the “depositor/custodian” (in trust law parlance, the “settlor”) and the “trustee.”  Exhibit C at the end of the Trust Indenture is the “Custodial Agreement.”  In the Custodial Agreement, Fannie represents, like the public securitization trustees referenced above, that it has received both the original note and fully executed assignments of mortgage prior to the “Issue Date” of the MBS.

Like Fannie Mae securitizations, Freddie Mac securitization documents are not public.  Also like Fannie Mae, although it takes some navigating, Freddie Mac posts its securitization forms (“Seller/Servicer Guides”) here.  Section 2(d)(3) of the Freddie Mac Seller/Servicer Guides requires that Seller/Servicer of a Freddie Mac deliver a fully executed assignment of mortgage from the Seller to Freddie Mac.  Freddie Mac formerly published on its website a search tool that allowed the user to determine the date of the Freddie Mac securitization trust and the date Freddie Mac acquired the mortgage.  Here is an example.  Section 11 of the Freddie Mac Custodial Agreementprovides that “United States” law, to be construed in accordance with New York law, governs Freddie Mac’s legal title to Freddie Mac securitized loans.

And here is the Federal Reserve’s press release on September 15, 2008:

Joint Press Release

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Office of Thrift Supervision
For immediate release
September 15, 2008

Federal Banking Agencies Evaluating FASB’s Accounting Proposals

The federal banking agencies are evaluating the amendments to generally accepted accounting principles proposed today by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

These proposals would amend Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 140, Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities (FAS 140), and FASB Interpretation No. 46(R), Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities (FIN 46(R)).

The FASB’s proposed amendments would remove the concept of a qualifying special purpose entity (QSPE) from FAS 140.  This would require that variable interest entities previously accounted for as QSPEs under FAS 140 be analyzed to determine whether they must be consolidated in accordance with FIN 46(R).  The amendment also would revise the criteria for reporting a sale versus a financing.

The proposed amendments also would modify the guidance in FIN 46(R) for determining which enterprise, if any, would consolidate a variable interest entity and require additional disclosures.  Banking organizations commonly use QSPEs and variable interest entities for securitization and other structured finance activities.

The Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Thrift Supervision are evaluating the potential impact that these proposals could have on banking organizations’ financial statements, regulatory capital, and other regulatory requirements.   The agencies expect to engage in discussions with banks, savings associations, and bank holding companies to review and understand fully the implications of the proposed amendments.

Media Contacts:
Federal Reserve Susan Stawick 202-452-2955
FDIC David Barr 202-898-6992
OCC Dean DeBuck 202-874-4876
OTS William Ruberry 202-906-6677
Last update: September 15, 2008

California Supreme Court Opens Door For Wrongful Foreclosure Lawsuits and Challenges to Transfers of Mortgages: Practical Implications and Options Moving Forward

It’s about time!

In Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corporation et al, the Supreme Court of California reversed the Court of Appeal’s ruling, and held that a borrower plaintiff who has been subject to a nonjudicial foreclosure has standing to bring an action for wrongful foreclosure based on an allegedly void deed of trust assignment (without making any determination as to whether the alleged facts established a void assignment).  In so doing, the Supreme Court came down solidly in favor of the “aggrieved” borrower thus settling, at least in California and likely other non-judicial foreclosure states, the issue regarding the standing of such a plaintiff to challenge the acts of a securitization trust.  Since the financial crisis there have been several cases considering the standing issue, most notably the California Court of Appeal decisions in Glaski  v. Bank of America, N. A. (2011) 198 Cal. App. 4th 256 (holding the plaintiff had standing to challenge the authority of the beneficiary to foreclose) and Jenkins v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (2013) 216 Cal. App. 4th 497 (holding the plaintiff had no standing to enforce the terms of the agreements allegedly violated).  The Supreme Court stated “On the narrow question before us – whether a wrongful foreclosure plaintiff may challenge an assignment to the foreclosing entity as void- we conclude Glaski provides a more logical answer than Jenkins.”

The Yvanova case has a particularly bad fact pattern where the deed of trust was executed in 2006 together with an assignment of mortgage or deed of trust “in blank”, or without filling in the name of the assignee of the deed of trust and recording the assignment.  New Century, the lender and beneficiary on the deed of trust, filed for bankruptcy on April 2, 2007 and on August 1, 2008 was liquidated and its assets were transferred to a liquidation trust.  Prior to that time, the mortgage was sold to a securitization trust – MSAC-2007 Trust-HE-1 Pass Thru Certificates.  Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, as attorney in fact for New Century, completed the assignment of mortgage on December 19, 2011, and the assignment was recorded on December 30, 2011.  Although not deciding on the issue of whether the assignment was “void” and not merely “voidable”, the Court noted that New Century no longer existed when the assignment of mortgage was “completed”.  The foreclosure occurred in September 2012.

– See more at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/california-supreme-court-opens-door-wrongful-foreclosure-lawsuits-and-challenges-to#sthash.0VJ760pC.dpuf

Video Surfaces of Hillary Clinton Blaming Homeowners for Financial Crisis

It is up to the voters to decide which Presidential candidate has a better plan to go over Wall Street execs and end the commercial banks from engaging in the investment business and not simply have the same repeated bank offenders to continue to pay a fine and sign a non-prosecution agreement in order to avoid jail time.


According to Hillary Clinton, if you were a victim of the foreclosure crisis, it was probably your fault.

The only problem with that argument is that it’s not even close to factually correct.

Clinton in 2007: Homeowners “should have known they were getting in over their heads”

When Clinton ran for president during her second term as New York’s U.S. Senator, she gave a tepid speech at the NASDAQ headquarters on December 5, 2007 — before the financial crisis reached a boiling point — about reforming Wall Street’s housing loan practices, largely excusing financial criminals for their behavior.

“Now these economic problems are certainly not all Wall Street’s fault – not by a long shot,” Clinton said early in the speech.

Clinton’s NASDAQ address amounted to essentially asking the financiers assembled to take voluntary action or else she would “consider legislation” to stop banks from kicking families out of their homes. But early on in the speech, Clinton placed equal blame for the subprime mortgage crisis on low-income homeowners alongside Wall Street.

“Homebuyers who paid extra fees to avoid documenting their income should have known they were getting in over their heads,” Clinton said.

One YouTube user found video of the statement and put it side-by-side with her claim at the first Democratic debate in which she said she went to Wall Street before the crisis and told them to “cut it out.”

I read a financial book a couple of years ago that discuss the 10 causes of the financial crisis. I posted some of the highlights on my Justice League blog in 2012:

I mentioned Credit Default Swaps are one of the causes of the financial crisis. Of course there are others. First, let’s talk about Securitization.

Securitization sounds like a great deal for anyone such as the banks, investors, and so on. But, the securitization of pools of mortgages into mortgage-backed securities (MBS) allowed banks to transfer risk to investors because banks no longer obliged to hold mortgages. This allowed banks and mortgage companies to originate more loans and make more money. The more money, the more profits for the banks. And securitization started to apply to other products such as car loans, student loans, credit card debt, and so on.

Second, subprime loans or liar loans.

Once securitization came to play, banks came up with other method of increasing their profits: Originate loans quickly and sell them off to the government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or to giant mortgage companies such as Countrywide, Option One, Washington Mutual, etc. and change the lending standards such as 0% down, no documentation of income or payment histories, etc.

Third, financial institutions that are deemed “Too Big To Fail.”

We now know which banks own the majority of the US economy: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. I called them the “Five Families.” These five families according to Dallas Federal Reserve head own 56% of the US economy. Notice that Goldman Sachs was named with the rest of the four banks. Keep in mind that Goldman Sachs is an investment firm. And in 2008, Goldman Sachs as well as Morgan Stanley became a bank holding company. And of course, Litton Loans, a mortgage servicing company, was owned by Goldman Sachs before Goldman sold Litton Loan to Ocwen.

Fourth, derivatives

In December 2000, thanks to the banking lobbyists’ pressure, Senate passed Commodity Futures Modernization Act which allowed the banks and brokerages to create insurance-type products. Yes, we were introduced to insurance-like products called “Credit Default Swaps.” This product, because it was unregulated, allowed traders that worked for banks and insurance companies to place bets on everything including mortgages and even on products that didn’t own. The risker the bet, the higher the return. And thanks to the introduction of subprime loans, subprime loans were the riskiest.  this is what led to demise of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and AIG.

Fifth,  Residential and Commerical housing bubble

Certainly much of the blame of the residential and commerical housing bubble is Congress that resisted in reforming Freddie and Fannie rather allowing Freddie and Fannie to buy mortgages from lenders, securitized the loans into bonds, and selling those bonds to investors. As far as commerical mortgages, they were sliced up, securitized, and sold to investors  (i.e. state and municipal pension funds, non-profit foundations, etc.)

Sixth, Politicians wanting to stay in office and benefits from the financial crisis

It has been well known of the many ex- lawmakers and who have personal relationships with our current elected officials have fled to the career as a lobbyist. People who check their own former elected officials to see who is now a registered lobbyist as well as their current elected officials to see if he or she has any lobbyist that works in his or her office or writing his or her bills.

Seventh, Deregulation

After the Glass-Steagall Act, which was a bill in the Great Depression that prohibited commerical banks and investment banks merger, which officially ended regulation for the banks, this is why we had products such as “Credit Default Swaps’ to be unregulated and allow banks to hide liabilities and participate in high risk investments.

Eighth, Globalization

When each nation has its own set of rules for regulating and financial transactions of a company and that international company declares bankruptcy, it affects other companies globally and becomes a financial nightmare. Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy is an example as many banks and investment firms globally sued to get back the billions that was invested in Lehman bonds and derivatives.

Nine, Credit Rating Agencies

The three major financial rating agencies—Moody’s, Standard & Poors, and Fitch are supposed to office non-biased rating on stocks and bonds. Right? Wrong. All three credit rating agencies gave Lehman Brothers bonds an “A” ratings right up to the day Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy.

Ten, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan

Remember Greenspan, the “godfather of the economy” or the man kept interest rates too low for too long that encouraged buyers to purchase homes in a bid-up market and the height of the housing bubble? This is the same Greenspan who opposed tighter regulation on derivatives and subprime mortgages, had faith in free markets to regulate themselves, and endorsed adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) that ending up being bad advice which left homeowners’ mortgages upside down and left holding the bag.

Yes, there are other individuals and entities to blame such as the Securities Exchange Commission, federal regulators, FDIC, Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), Justice Department, Office of Comptroller of Currency, homeowners who took out those liar loans and knew that they couldn’t afford them, current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (when he took over Greenspan’s job) who never disclosed to the public the discount window loans given to the banks besides the $700 billion dollar taxpayer money to bail them out, Clinton Administration for allowing the deregulation, Bush Administration for escalating the deregulation which eventually crashed the economy, and so on. We can continue to discuss the causes of the global financial crisis. The real question is will we learn from this and will this be repeated again?


Officials Cover Up Housing Bubble’s Scummy Residue: Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents

Great article by David Dayen!

VERY DAY IN AMERICA, mortgage companies attempt to foreclose on homeowners using false documents.

It’s a byproduct of the mortgage securitization craze during the housing bubble, when loans were sliced and diced so haphazardly that the actual ownership was confused.

When the bubble burst, lenders foreclosing on properties needed paperwork to prove their standing, but didn’t have it — leading mortgage industry employees to forge, fabricate and backdate millions of mortgage documents. This foreclosure fraud scandal was exposed in 2010, and acquired a name: “robo-signing.”

But while some of the offenders paid fines over the past few years, nobody cleaned up the documents. This rot still exists inside the property records system all over the country, and those in a position of authority appear determined to pretend it doesn’t exist.

In two separate cases, activists have charged that officials and courts are hiding evidence of mortgage document irregularities that, if verified, could stop thousands of foreclosures in their tracks. Officials have delayed disclosure of this evidence, the activists believe, because it would be too messy, and it’s easier to bottle up the evidence than deal with the repercussions.

“All they’re doing is making a mockery of our judicial system,” said Bill Paatalo, a private investigator and one of the activists.

Like many other anti-foreclosure activists, Paatalo got involved with the issue through a case involving his own property — in Absarokee, Montana. Like many homeowner loans purchased during the housing bubble, Paatalo’s was packaged into a mortgage-backed security.

The process worked like this: The loans were eventually sold into a tax-exempt REMIC (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit) trust; the REMIC trust received monthly mortgage payments from homeowners; and the payments were passed along to investors in the mortgage-backed securities.

The trust where Paatalo’s mortgage ended up is known as “WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Services 2007-OA3 Trust.” When he faced foreclosure, the trust, as the nominal owner of the mortgage, was the plaintiff.

In doing research for his own trial, Paatalo discovered that all “foreign business trusts” established outside of Montana have to register with the Secretary of State in order to transact business, under Title 35-5-201 of the Montana code. Trustees must file an application, along with legal affidavits affirming its trust agreement and identifying all trustees, and pay a $70 filing fee.

WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Services 2007-OA3 Trust — based in Delaware — didn’t.

That means that the trust could not acquire property in Montana — precisely what it was alleging it did in Paatalo’s foreclosure case. An affidavit from Tana Gormely, a deputy for the Business Services Division in the Montana Secretary of State’s office, confirms that the 2007-OA3 trust “is not registered with our office as required by law.”

Read on.

Morgan Stanley expects mortgage bond lawsuit from New York AG

It turns out that Morgan Stanley (MS) is not out of the woods when it comes to trouble with regulators. Far from it, in fact.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company disclosed that it is expecting to be the subject of a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over approximately 30 subprime securitizations sponsored by the company.

“NYAG indicated that the lawsuit would allege that the company misrepresented or omitted material information related to the due diligence, underwriting and valuation of the loans in the securitizations and the properties securing them and indicated that its lawsuit would be brought under the Martin Act,” Morgan Stanley said in the filing.

Morgan Stanley reported that Schneiderman’s office notified the company in early January of its intent to sue.

Morgan Stanley also said that it “does not agree” with the New York AG’s offices allegations and has presented evidence in its defense to the AG’s office.

Read on.

Auto Loan Securitization Probed by U.S., States, Acting Deputy AG Yates Says

And that is the next major scandal in securitization. We have mortgage-backed securitization, commercial-backed securitization, and rental-backed securitization..

(Bloomberg) — The Justice Department and state authorities are looking into the securitization of auto loans for possible fraud as part of an effort to seek out emerging areas of abuse, Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said.

The department’s No. 2 official, in a speech to state attorneys general Tuesday in Washington, said prosecutors were taking a hard look at the auto lending industry to stem any abuses before they could harm the marketplace.

“We shouldn’t wait until there is a crisis to pay attention,” Yates said. “We can and should use our experience investigating mortgage-backed securities to be on the lookout for, and head off, any potential threat, rather than waiting until after losses have been suffered.”

While the auto-loan securities market is much smaller than the market in subprime mortgages that was at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis, there are parallels. Ratings companies are awarding top grades to the securities, while it isn’t easy for buyers to verify the accuracy of those assessments, according to attorneys, academics and other auto-loan securities experts.

Read on.

The Causation Link Between Securitization and Fraud, Used Car Edition

Posted by Christine Hurt

When I practiced in the mid-1990s, I occasionally worked on projects we called “asset securitizations.”  We didn’t talk about it to our friends or families, because their eyes would glaze over and then they would pass out from boredom.  Because of our client base, our asset securitizations were generally either used car loans from the finance side of large auto companies or franchise loan securitizations from oil and gas companies.  Only when the financial crisis hit did everyone seem to become conversant in asset-backed securities, and the process of wide-spread securitization of mortgages seemed to be at the root of all the mortgage troubles.

The hypothesis is this, and it has some support:  If lenders held their loans, particularly their mortgages, then they would only make good loans.  By having a market to dump loans into, lenders loosen criteria to make more mortgages.  Ignorant bond holders can’t buy enough MBS, so lenders loosen criteria even more to meet demand.  Lenders may even engage in fraud or encourage borrowers to engage in fraud.  The Dodd-Frank Act tries to remedy these ills by having regulation at the lender end and the MBS end.  We’ll see if it works.

But the NYT this week tells us the securitization evil has spread to used car loans.  Because I’m pretty sure used car loans have been securitized since at least 1993, I don’t see this as news.  However, the article suggests that because of less fun in MBS, those investors now have poured their money into used car loan-backed securities (let’s say UCBS).  The article doesn’t state it’s hypothesis, but suggests this is bad because (1) car buyers are defaulting and losing their vehicles and (2) financial players who package UCBS are getting rich.  But, the article doesn’t go so far as to provide evidence that (1) car buyers are defaulting more than usual or (2) that the demand for UCBS has caused lenders to be more unscrupulous than they have been in the past.

Read on.

Wall Street Firm on Rental Property Buying Spree in Cook Co.

Hearing the term “securitization” and Wall Street in the same sentence might make some people nervous. That goes double when it involves the place that you live in. Blackstone Group, a private equity firm that just completed a multi-billion dollar sale in New York, has been on a rental property buying spree, taking advantage of low prices to pick up $8 billion in property across the country, including 1,300 homes in Chicago and Cook County. The company is also grouping these rental properties together via securitization schemes reminiscent of those that led to the housing bubble six years ago.

Read on.