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Mortgage Loan Modifications: Program Incentives and Restructuring Design

Author

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  • Dan Magder

    () (Lone Star Funds)

Abstract

Mortgage defaults and home foreclosures remain a growing problem that undermines the nascent US economic recovery. Delinquencies continue to skyrocket, up 300 percent since the beginning of the crisis, and the contagion has spread to prime loans where delinquencies have risen to over 11 percent of outstanding loans. The resulting foreclosures have broad consequences: Individuals lose their homes, banks take losses on the loans, neighbors suffer as area prices go down, and localities lose on property taxes. The economics of modifying loans to avoid defaults appear strong: Lenders lose an average of $145,000 during a foreclosure compared with less than $24,000 on a modified loan. Yet the track record of modification programs has been surprisingly poor. Potential lawsuits over modifying loans in securitization trusts may be a less important obstacle than many claim. More significant are misaligned incentives that put mortgage servicers in opposition to both investors and borrowers, conflicts between investors holding different tranches of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), operational impediments, and problems in loan modification design that contribute to redefaults. Policymakers should improve reporting metrics to highlight servicers’ conflicts of interest, shift the emphasis of loan modifications from short-term fixes to making the new loans more sustainable, and use government resources to drive operational/capacity improvements in the industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Magder, 2009. "Mortgage Loan Modifications: Program Incentives and Restructuring Design," Working Paper Series WP09-13, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp09-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Evanoff, Douglas D., 2011. "The role of securitization in mortgage renegotiation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 559-578.
    2. Agarwal, Sumit & Zhang, Yunqi, 2018. "Effects of government bailouts on mortgage modification," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 54-70.
    3. Been, Vicki & Weselcouch, Mary & Voicu, Ioan & Murff, Scott, 2013. "Determinants of the incidence of U.S. Mortgage Loan Modifications," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3951-3973.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mortgage Loan Modifications; Restructuring; Credit Crisis; HAMP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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