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The Anatomy of a Residential Mortgage Crisis: A Look Back to the 1930s

  • Kenneth A. Snowden

Looking back to the 1930s provides the opportunity to examine one severe mortgage crisis as we live through another. This paper examines the development of the residential mortgage market during the 1920s, the institutional disruptions that occurred in the 1930s and the policy response of federal and state governments. The crisis reshaped the structure and development of the residential mortgage market and led to a postwar system in which portfolio lenders dominated both local and interregional markets. Some pre-1930 innovations--mortgage insurance and high-leverage, affordable loans--were written into federal programs and became part of the new system. But early experiments and proposals for securitization did not survive the 1930s and the implementation of this innovation was delayed for forty years.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16244.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16244.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Publication status: published as "The Anatomy Of A Residential Mortgage Crisis: A Look Back To The 1930s", in L. Mitchell (ed.) The Panic of 2008: Causes, Consequences and Proposals for Reform.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16244
Note: CF DAE
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  1. Snowden, Kenneth A, 1997. "Building and loan associations in the U.S., 1880-1893: the origins of localization in the residential mortgage market," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 227-250, September.
  2. Kenneth A. Snowden, 2010. "Covered Farm Mortgage Bonds in the Late Nineteenth Century U.S," NBER Working Papers 16242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Snowden, Kenneth A., 1988. "Mortgage Lending and American Urbanization, 1880–1890," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 273-285, June.
  4. Kenneth Snowden, 1995. "The Evolution of Interregional Mortgage Lending Channels, 1870-1940: The Life Insurance-Mortgage Company Connection," NBER Chapters, in: Coordination and Information: Historical Perspectives on the Organization of Enterprise, pages 209-256 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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