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Market-based loss mitigation practices for troubled mortgages following the financial crisis

  • Sumit Agarwal
  • Gene Amromin
  • Itzhak Ben-David
  • Souphala Chomsisengphet
  • Douglas D. Evanoff

The meltdown in residential real-estate prices that commenced in 2006 resulted in unprecedented mortgage delinquency rates. Until mid-2009, lenders and servicers pursued their own individual loss mitigation practices without being significantly influenced by government intervention. Using a unique dataset that precisely identifies loss mitigation actions, we study these methods—liquidation, repayment plans, loan modification, and refinancing—and analyze their effectiveness. We show that the majority of delinquent mortgages do not enter any loss mitigation program or become a part of foreclosure proceedings within 6 months of becoming distressed. We also find that it takes longer to complete foreclosures over time, potentially due to congestion. We further document large heterogeneity in practices across servicers, which is not accounted for by differences in borrower population. ; Consistent with the idea that securitization induces agency conflicts, we confirm that the likelihood of modification of securitized loans is up to 70% lower relative to portfolio loans. Finally, we find evidence that affordability (as opposed to strategic default due to negative equity) is the prime reason for redefault following modifications. While modification terms are more favorable for weaker borrowers, greater reductions in mortgage payments and/or interest rates are associated with lower redefault rates. Our regression estimates suggest that a 1 percentage point decline in mortgage interest rate is associated with a nearly 4 percentage point decline in default probability. This finding is consistent with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) focus on improving mortgage affordability.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2011-03.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2011-03
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  1. Chris Foote & Jeff Fuhrer & Eileen Mauskopf & Paul Willen, 2009. "A proposal to help distressed homeowners: a government payment-sharing plan," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. 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.
  3. Larry Cordell & Karen Dynan & Andreas Lehnert & Nellie Liang & Eileen Mauskopf, 2009. "Designing loan modifications to address the mortgage crisis and the making home affordable program," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
  5. Giglio, Stefano & Pathak, Parag & Campbell, John Y., 2011. "Forced Sales and House Prices," Scholarly Articles 9887623, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
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