Monday, December 17, 2007

Mortgage Bailout – Who’s Getting Bailed Out & Who’s Bailing Out!

OK, let's start with a brief understanding of the mortgage industry. You buy a property and obtain a mortgage. The lender then packages that loan with many others and then they are sold to investors. Simple, right! OK, so now we come to the mortgage debacle that we are seeing in the subprime market and we've all read about the bailout that President Bush is proposing.

So now let's get back to our investor. They bought a package of loans at a certain rate of return expected. But if the rates are frozen, then this investor is going to get a lower rate of return on his money. This is akin to you having a Certificate of Deposit and the bank suddenly telling you that they are going to give you less interest because they've run into a bad stretch there for a while. I don't think we need to discuss how you'd feel about that.
But let's go back to our investor again. So, he's told that he's going to be making less on the securities that he bought. Not only that, the government is stepping and is going to preclude all of these lawsuits that would have been raised. You have to understand - when the investor bought those securities they basically had a contract which has now been broken.

So let's take this to the next step, when this happens to these investors - well let's just put it like this - do you think that they will be investing any more of their money into these Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS's)? No, and this further leads to the mortgage markets further drying up.

The fact is there will not really be that many homeowners who will benefit from this. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not wish to see anyone lose their home for any reason and that includes foreclosure. Oh yes, one other factor, all this is only a voluntary measure for the mortgage servicer (not even the original lender in most instances) to decide upon.

OK, so let's say all this gets worked out and there is a five year temporary freeze. This leads to many more questions, such as will the borrower face a reset in rate later on? What is the cost of this going to be and who's going to pay for it?

Now, granted, there is a partial win-win situation here, but only slightly and for very few. If this ‘bailout' does go into effect, there will be some homeowners that will get a break on their mortgage and avoid foreclosure, while at the same time the investor will not lose that particular loan to default.

There was a commentary in the Orlando Sentinel by Beth Kassab on 12/12/07 entitled, "Who really will be helped in mortgage mess?" At one point she mentioned that she called U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's office in regard to this proposed freeze. His office in turn told her "to call the American Securitization Forum - the group that represents the investors, loan services," etc. Hmm, can you spell L-O-B-B-Y-I-S-T-S?

The criteria that will be used to identify the homeowners that might be eligible is limited. Government intervention is not the answer for negligence, etc. Mortgage reform is something that should be talked about. We have a lot of excellent mortgage professionals out there, but at the same time we had lenders giving away the bank so to speak. You see, that once the lender sells that loan, they no longer have an interest or liability in that loan.

We need more accountability.

Till next time - Marc It Sold!

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