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Mortgage-Backed Securities and the Financial Crisis of 2008: a Post Mortem

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  • Juan Ospina
  • Harald Uhlig

Abstract

We examine the payoff performance, up to the end of 2013, of non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), issued up to 2008. We have created a new and detailed data set on the universe of non-agency residential mortgage backed securities, per carefully assembling source data from Bloomberg and other sources. We compare these payoffs to their ex-ante ratings as well as other characteristics. We establish seven facts. First, the bulk of these securities was rated AAA. Second, AAA securities did ok: on average, their total cumulated losses up to 2013 are 2.3 percent. Third, the subprime AAA-rated segment did particularly well. Fourth, later vintages did worse than earlier vintages, except for subprime AAA securities. Fifth, the bulk of the losses were concentrated on a small share of all securities. Sixth, the misrating for AAA securities was modest. Seventh, controlling for a home price bust, a home price boom was good for the repayment on these securities. Together, these facts provide challenge the conventional narrative, that improper ratings of RMBS were a major factor in the financial crisis of 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Ospina & Harald Uhlig, 2018. "Mortgage-Backed Securities and the Financial Crisis of 2008: a Post Mortem," NBER Working Papers 24509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24509
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Keys, Benjamin J. & Mukherjee, Tanmoy & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2009. "Financial regulation and securitization: Evidence from subprime loans," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 700-720, July.
    2. Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & James Witkin, 2015. "Asset Quality Misrepresentation by Financial Intermediaries: Evidence from the RMBS Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(6), pages 2635-2678, December.
    3. Nina Boyarchenko & Andreas Fuster & David O Lucca, 2019. "Understanding Mortgage Spreads," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(10), pages 3799-3850.
    4. Adam Ashcraft & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Peter Hull & James Vickery, 2011. "Credit Ratings and Security Prices in the Subprime MBS Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 115-119, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ehsan Ebrahimy, 2019. "Fire Sales in Frozen Markets," IMF Working Papers 2019/092, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Christopher L. Foote & Lara Loewenstein & Paul S. Willen, 2016. "Cross-Sectional Patterns of Mortgage Debt during the Housing Boom: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 22985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Robatto, Roberto, 2019. "Private money creation, liquidity crises, and government interventions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 42-58.
    4. Paul, Pascal, 2020. "A macroeconomic model with occasional financial crises," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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