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Credit Counseling and Mortgage Termination by Low-Income Households


  • Valentina Hartarska


  • Claudio Gonzalez-Vega



Published research on credit counseling and mortgage termination is surprisingly scarce, despite substantial growth in this industry. While the purpose of counseling is to assist low-income borrowers to improve their handling of debt and thereby reduce default, counseling may also improve the borrowers’ understanding of their financial position and thus induce optimal mortgage termination. Using a competing-risks framework, we study the effects on default and prepayment of a counseling program implemented in several Midwest states. We find weak evidence of that the default hazard was lower for graduates of the counseling program, but that their default behavior was more optimal. The prepayment hazard was higher for counseled borrowers, but their prepayment behavior was not more optimal. Overall, counseling seems to affect the lenders’ profits, but the net effect should be evaluated both in terms of prepayment and default. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Valentina Hartarska & Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, 2005. "Credit Counseling and Mortgage Termination by Low-Income Households," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 227-243, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrefec:v:30:y:2005:i:3:p:227-243 DOI: 10.1007/s11146-005-6405-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Goldberg, Gerson M. & Harding, John P., 2003. "Investment characteristics of low- and moderate-income mortgage loans," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 151-180, September.
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    3. Deng, Yongheng & Quigley, John M. & Van Order, Robert & Mac, Freddie, 1996. "Mortgage default and low downpayment loans: The costs of public subsidy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 263-285, June.
    4. Yongheng Deng & John M. Quigley & Robert Van Order, 2000. "Mortgage Terminations, Heterogeneity and the Exercise of Mortgage Options," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 275-308, March.
    5. Michael E. Staten & Gregory E. Elliehausen & E. Christopher Lundquist, 2003. "The impact of credit counseling on subsequent borrower credit usage and payment behavior," Proceedings 881, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Chaves, Rodrigo A. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio, 1996. "The design of successful rural financial intermediaries: Evidence from Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 65-78, January.
    7. Ambrose, Brent W & Capone, Charles A, 2000. "The Hazard Rates of First and Second Defaults," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 275-293, May.
    8. John M. Clapp & Gerson M. Goldberg & John P. Harding & Michael LaCour-Little, 2001. "Movers and Shuckers: Interdependent Prepayment Decisions," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 411-450.
    9. Quigley, John M & Van Order, Robert, 1995. "Explicit Tests of Contingent Claims Models of Mortgage Default," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 99-117, September.
    10. Archer, Wayne R. & Ling, David C. & McGill, Gary A., 1996. "The effect of income and collateral constraints on residential mortgage terminations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 235-261, June.
    11. Stavros Peristiani & Paul Bennett & Gordon Monsen & Richard Peach & Jonathan Raiff, 1997. "Credit, equity, and mortgage refinancings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 83-99.
    12. Kau, James B. & Keenan, Donald C. & Muller III, Walter J. & Epperson, James F., 1995. "The Valuation at Origination of Fixed-Rate Mortgages with Default and Prepayment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 5-36, July.
    13. Kau, James B, et al, 1992. "A Generalized Valuation Model for Fixed-Rate Residential Mortgages," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(3), pages 279-299, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Margaret Miller & Julia Reichelstein & Christian Salas & Bilal Zia, 2015. "Can You Help Someone Become Financially Capable? A Meta-Analysis of the Literature," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 220-246.
    2. Roberto Quercia & Jonathan Spader, 2008. "Does homeownership counseling affect the prepayment and default behavior of affordable mortgage borrowers?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 304-325.
    3. Andrew Carswell, 2009. "Does Housing Counseling Change Consumer Financial Behaviors? Evidence from Philadelphia," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 339-356, December.
    4. J. Collins, 2007. "Exploring the Design of Financial Counseling for Mortgage Borrowers in Default," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 207-226, June.
    5. Denis Nadolnyak & Valentina Hartarska & Xuan Shen, 2016. "Climate Variability and Agricultural Loan Delinquency in the US," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 8(12), pages 238-249, December.
    6. Courchane, Marsha & Gailey, Adam & Zorn, Peter, 2008. "Consumer credit literacy: What price perception," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 125-138.
    7. Matthew Martin, 2007. "A literature review on the effectiveness of financial education," Working Paper 07-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    8. Tim Kaiser & Lukas Menkhoff, 2017. "Does Financial Education Impact Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior, and If So, When?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
    9. repec:eee:pacfin:v:43:y:2017:i:c:p:218-237 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Shen, Chung-Hua & Lin, Shih-Jie & Tang, De-Piao & Hsiao, Yu-Jen, 2016. "The relationship between financial disputes and financial literacy," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 46-65.
    11. John M. Barron & Michael E. Staten, 2011. "Is technology-enhanced credit counseling as effective as in-person delivery?," Working Papers 11-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.


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