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Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide

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  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Edward Morrison
  • Tomasz Piskorski
  • Arpit Gupta

Abstract

We investigate whether homeowners respond strategically to news of mortgage modification programs. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in modification policy induced by U.S. state government lawsuits against Countrywide Financial Corporation, which agreed to offer modifications to seriously delinquent borrowers with subprime mortgages throughout the country. Using a difference-in-difference framework, we find that Countrywide’s relative delinquency rate increased thirteen percent per month immediately after the program’s announcement. The borrowers whose estimated default rates increased the most in response to the program were those who appear to have been the least likely to default otherwise, including those with substantial liquidity available through credit cards and relatively low combined loan-to-value ratios. These results suggest that strategic behavior should be an important consideration in designing mortgage modification programs.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17065.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17065

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  1. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Jonathan Morse, 2009. "Your house or your credit card, which would you choose?: personal delinquency tradeoffs and precautionary liquidity motives," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU09-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2008. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the 2007 Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 13936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
  4. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  5. Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2010. "Securitization and distressed loan renegotiation: Evidence from the subprime mortgage crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 369-397, September.
  6. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:7:p:2071-2108 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  8. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Evanoff, Douglas D., 2011. "The Role of Securitization in Mortgage Renegotiation," Working Paper Series 2011-2, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  9. Berndt, Antje & Gupta, Anurag, 2009. "Moral hazard and adverse selection in the originate-to-distribute model of bank credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 725-743, July.
  10. John Y. Campbell & Stefano Giglio & Parag Pathak, 2009. "Forced Sales and House Prices," NBER Working Papers 14866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ronel Elul & Nicholas S. Souleles & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Dennis & Glennon & Robert Hunt, 2010. "What "triggers" mortgage default?," Working Papers 10-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi, 2011. "Stochastic House Appreciation and Optimal Mortgage Lending," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(5), pages 1407-1446.
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Cited by:
  1. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Eugene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit, 2013. "Policy Intervention in Debt Renegotiation: Evidence from the Home Affordable Modification Program," Working Paper Series WP-2013-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Stephanie M. Wilshusen, 2011. "Meeting the demand for debt relief," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 11-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Trautmann, Stefan T. & Vlahu, Razvan, 2013. "Strategic loan defaults and coordination: An experimental analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 747-760.

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