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The Role of Mortgage Brokers in the Subprime Crisis

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  • Antje Berndt
  • Burton Hollifield
  • Patrik Sandås

Abstract

Prior to the subprime crisis, mortgage brokers originated about 65% of all subprime mortgages. Yet little is known about their behavior during the runup to the crisis. Using data from New Century Financial Corporation, we find that brokers earned an average revenue of $5,300 per funded loan. We decompose the broker revenues into a cost and a profit component and find evidence consistent with brokers having market power. The profits earned are different for different types of loans and vary with borrower, broker, regulation and neighborhood characteristics. We relate the broker profits to the subsequent performance of the loans and show that brokers earned high profits on loans that turned out to be riskier ex post.

Suggested Citation

  • Antje Berndt & Burton Hollifield & Patrik Sandås, 2010. "The Role of Mortgage Brokers in the Subprime Crisis," NBER Working Papers 16175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16175
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Souphala Chomsisengphet, 2007. "Subprime Refinancing: Equity Extraction and Mortgage Termination," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 35(2), pages 233-263, June.
    2. Pennington-Cross, Anthony, 2003. "Credit History and the Performance of Prime and Nonprime Mortgages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 279-301, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Payne & Tammy Huffman Ph.D, 2012. "Minimizing predatory lending: Designing a long-term compensation structure to minimize the actions of opportunistic mortgage brokers," International Journal of Business and Social Research, MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, vol. 2(5), pages 8-19, October.
    2. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2014. "Price Dispersion in Mortgage Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 377-416, September.
    3. Ben-David, Itzhak, 2011. "High Leverage and Willingness to Pay: Evidence from the Residential Housing Market," Working Paper Series 2011-17, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    4. Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & James Witkin, 2013. "Asset Quality Misrepresentation by Financial Intermediaries: Evidence from RMBS Market," NBER Working Papers 18843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Susan E. Woodward & Robert E. Hall, 2012. "Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3249-3276, December.
    6. Dejan Šoškić, 2015. "Global Financial Reform Since 2008: Achievements and Shortcomings," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 62(3), pages 385-400, June.
    7. repec:eee:riibaf:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:1489-1503 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Eugene Amromin & Jennifer Huang & Clemens Sialm & Edward Zhong, 2010. "Complex mortgages," Working Paper Series WP-2010-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. 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.
    10. Morgan J. Rose, 2011. "Prepayment Penalties: Efficieny and Predation," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 11-133, UMBC Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • 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
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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