Monday, May 07, 2007

New Century Update: NEW Knew News

by Tanta on 5/07/2007 10:27:00 AM

Holy Em Dash, Batman, I'm saying nice things about the press two posts in a row. Did anyone buy lottery tickets today?

From the Washington Post's David Cho, "Pressure at Mortgage Firm Led To Mass Approval of Bad Loans":

Traders familiar with the bidding process said competition for mortgages from New Century began to heat up in 2005. Mortgage-backed securities based on New Century loans had been performing better for investors than those from other subprime lenders, in some cases producing two or three times the return of a U.S. Treasury bond. Many banks felt they had to loosen their standards and agree to return fewer bad loans in order to win the auctions, the traders said.

The head of a large Wall Street bank's mortgage group contended that his firm regularly lost out on New Century's business because its due diligence process was stringent and it had been returning a high number of loans. New Century wanted the bank to ease its standards, and the issue became a source of friction between the companies.

"The entire industry, over time, became more lax," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about his company's inner workings. "The more [loans] you accepted, the better relationship and the better price you would have. The name of the game was definitely volume."

A New Century spokeswoman said negotiating with banks to reduce both their due diligence and the number of loans they returned was a "generally accepted practice" that was "always a matter of discussion." . . .

Although there were variations in their descriptions of the atmosphere in their offices, most said they were pushed to approve questionable loans. Several of the interviewed employees said they faced "unofficial quotas" of loans that had to be approved each day. The pressure to meet these expectations was so unrelenting that a worker in Foxboro, Mass., collapsed from stress and was taken to the hospital, two employees said. In the firm's Long Island branch, the atmosphere resembled a fraternity, largely because the average age was 23, an appraiser there said.

That's more interesting than a fake Enron story.