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Some Loans Are More Equal than Others: Third-Party Originations and Defaults in the Subprime Mortgage Industry

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  • William P. Alexander
  • Scott D. Grimshaw
  • Grant R. McQueen
  • Barrett A. Slade

Abstract

We show how agency problems between lenders (principals) and third-party originators (TPO; agents) imply that TPO-originated loans are more likely to default than similar retail-originated loans. The nature of the agency problem is that TPOs are compensated for writing loans, but are not completely held accountable for the subsequent performance of those loans. Using a hazard model with jointly estimated competing risks and unobserved heterogeneity, we find empirical support for the TPO/default prediction using individual fixed-rate subprime loans with first liens secured by residential real estate originated between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 1998. We find that apparently equal loans (similar ability to pay, option incentives and term) can have unequal default probabilities. We also find that, initially, the agency-cost risk was not priced. At first, the market did not recognize the higher channel risk, since TPO and retail loans received similar interest rates even though the TPO loans were more likely to default. We also show that this inefficiency was short-lived. As the difference in default rates became apparent, interest rates on TPO loans rose about 50 basis points above otherwise similar retail loans. Copyright 2002 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • William P. Alexander & Scott D. Grimshaw & Grant R. McQueen & Barrett A. Slade, 2002. "Some Loans Are More Equal than Others: Third-Party Originations and Defaults in the Subprime Mortgage Industry," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 667-697.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:30:y:2002:i:4:p:667-697
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    Cited by:

    1. Xudong An & Yongheng Deng & Eric Rosenblatt & Vincent Yao, 2012. "Model Stability and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 545-568, October.
    2. Smith, Brent C, 2011. "Stability in consumer credit scores: Level and direction of FICO score drift as a precursor to mortgage default and prepayment," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 285-298.
    3. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2009. "Technological change, financial innovation, and diffusion in banking," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2009-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Lanot, Gauthier & Leece, David, 2010. "The Performance of UK Securitized Subprime Mortgage Debt: ‘Idiosyncratic’ Behaviour or Mortgage Design?," MPRA Paper 27137, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Brent W. Ambrose & James N. Conklin, 2014. "Mortgage Brokers, Origination Fees, Price Transparency and Competition," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 363-421, June.
    6. Jonathan Spader & Roberto Quercia, 2011. "Mortgage Brokers and the Refinancing Transaction: Evidence from CRA Borrowers," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 181-210, February.
    7. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2009. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 183-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Goodman, Allen C. & Smith, Brent C., 2010. "Residential mortgage default: Theory works and so does policy," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 280-294, December.
    9. Danis, Michelle A. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony, 2008. "The delinquency of subprime mortgages," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 67-90.
    10. Steinbuks, Jevgenijs, 2015. "Effects of prepayment regulations on termination of subprime mortgages," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 445-456.
    11. Jie (Jack) He & Jun 'QJ' Qian & Philip E. Strahan, 2011. "Are All Ratings Created Equal? The Impact of Issuer Size on the Pricing of Mortgage-backed Securities," NBER Working Papers 17238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Giang Ho & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2006. "Loan servicer heterogeneity and the termination of subprime mortgages," Working Papers 2006-024, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    13. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2007. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Working Papers 13684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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