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Asset Quality Misrepresentation by Financial Intermediaries: Evidence from RMBS Market

Author

Listed:
  • Tomasz Piskorski
  • Amit Seru
  • James Witkin

Abstract

We contend that buyers received false information about the true quality of assets in contractual disclosures by intermediaries during the sale of mortgages in the $2 trillion non-agency market. We construct two measures of misrepresentation of asset quality - misreported occupancy status of borrower and misreported second liens - by comparing the characteristics of mortgages disclosed to the investors at the time of sale with actual characteristics of these loans at that time that are available in a dataset matched by a credit bureau. About one out of every ten loans has one of these misrepresentations. These misrepresentations are not likely to be an artifact of matching error between datasets that contain actual characteristics and those that are reported to investors. At least part of this misrepresentation likely occurs within the boundaries of the financial industry (i.e., not by borrowers). The propensity of intermediaries to sell misrepresented loans increased as the housing market boomed. These misrepresentations are costly for investors, as ex post delinquencies of such loans are more than 60% higher when compared with otherwise similar loans. Lenders seem to be partly aware of this risk, charging a higher interest rate on misrepresented loans relative to otherwise similar loans, but the interest rate markup on misrepresented loans does not fully reflect their higher default risk. Using measures of pricing used in the literature, we find no evidence that these misrepresentations were priced in the securities at their issuance. A significant degree of misrepresentation exists across all reputable intermediaries involved in sale of mortgages. The propensity to misrepresent seems to be largely unrelated to measures of incentives for top management, to quality of risk management inside these firms or to regulatory environment in a region. Misrepresentations on just two relatively easy-to-quantify dimensions of asset quality could result in forced repurchases of mortgages by intermediaries up to $160 billion.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18843
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sumit Agarwal & Itzhak Ben-David & Vincent Yao, 2015. "Collateral Valuation and Borrower Financial Constraints: Evidence from the Residential Real Estate Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(9), pages 2220-2240, September.
    2. Ing-Haw Cheng & Sahil Raina & Wei Xiong, 2014. "Wall Street and the Housing Bubble," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2797-2829, September.
    3. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Evanoff, Douglas D., 2014. "Predatory lending and the subprime crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 29-52.
    4. Giampaolo Gabbi & Alesia Kalbaska & Alessandro Vercelli, 2014. "Factors generating and transmitting the financial crisis: The role of incentives: securitization and contagion," Working papers wpaper56, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    5. Mark Egan & Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru, 2016. "The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct," NBER Working Papers 22050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Manuel Adelino & Antoinette Schoar & Felipe Severino, 2015. "Loan Originations and Defaults in the Mortgage Crisis: Further Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:oup:rfinst:v:30:y:2017:i:6:p:1832-1864. is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert Shimer, 2014. "Private Information in the Mortgage Market: Evidence and a Theory of Crises," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Sofía Bauducco & Lawrence Christiano & Claudio Raddatz (ed.), Macroeconomic and Financial Stability: challenges for Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 19, chapter 4, pages 117-150 Central Bank of Chile.
    9. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher S. & Hartman-Glaser, Barney, 2016. "Are Lemons Sold First? Dynamic Signaling in the Mortgage Market," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, revised 01 Mar 2018.
    10. Luigi Zingales, 2015. "Does Finance Benefit Society?," NBER Working Papers 20894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kempf, Elisabeth & Manconi, Alberto & Massa, Massimo, 2017. "Canary in a Coalmine: Securities Lending Predicting the Performance of Securitized Bonds," CEPR Discussion Papers 11993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Robert Shimer & Iván Werning, 2015. "Efficiency and Information Transmission in Bilateral Trading," NBER Working Papers 21495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Elul, Ronel & Tilson, Sebastian, 2015. "Owner occupancy fraud and mortgage performance," Working Papers 15-45, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    14. Yunus Aksoy & Henrique S. Basso, 2014. "Securitization and Asset Prices," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1411, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    15. Benjamin J. Keys & Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & Vincent Yao, 2014. "Mortgage Rates, Household Balance Sheets, and the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 20561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2017. "Fraudulent Income Overstatement on Mortgage Applications During the Credit Expansion of 2002 to 2005," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 30(6), pages 1832-1864.
    17. Shi, Lan & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Appraisal inflation: Evidence from the 2009 GSE HVCC intervention," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 71-90.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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