Tuesday, September 18, 2007

LEND 10-Q: A Heapin' Helpin' of HorseHockey™

by Tanta on 9/18/2007 09:25:00 AM

LEND finally got around to filing a 10-Q today for Q01. It's jam-packed with exciting self-serving revisionist history masquerading as opening the kimono. I recommend it to connoisseurs of first-rate HorseHockey™.

Lowlights:

In the third quarter of 2006, the non-prime mortgage market in which the Company operates was characterized by increased competition for loans and customers which simultaneously lowered profit margins on loans and caused lenders to be more aggressive in making loans to relatively less qualified customers. By the end of 2006, the non-prime mortgage industry was clearly being negatively impacted. The sustained pricing competition and higher risk portfolios of loans reduced the appetite for loans among whole loan buyers, who offered increasingly lower prices for loans, thereby shrinking profit margins for non-prime lenders. In addition, the higher levels of credit risk taken on by non-prime lenders resulted in higher rates of delinquency in the loans held for investment and in increasing frequency of early payment defaults and repurchase demands on loans that had been sold. These trends accelerated during the first quarter of 2007, and the industry experienced a period of turmoil which has continued into the second and third quarters of 2007. As of August 31 2007, more than 55 mortgage companies operating in the non-prime mortgage industry had failed and many others faced serious operating and financial challenges. The most notable of these failures is New Century Mortgage Corporation (“New Century”), one of the largest non-prime originators in recent years, which filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2007.

It now appears that an underlying reason for the deterioration of industry conditions was the relatively poor performance of loans originated in 2006 in comparison to loans originated in 2004 and 2005. While real estate markets were booming during 2004 and 2005, and some areas experienced significant home price appreciation, many originators extended credit and underwriting standards to meet market demands. When home price appreciation leveled off, or in some areas declined, many of the loans originated in 2006 did not perform up to expectations. This decline in performance led to increases in the cost of securitizing non-prime loans as the rating agencies which rate non-prime securitizations increased loss coverage levels, requiring higher credit support for non-prime securitizations.
Yeah, the funny business just happened to happen in Q04 06, which made it visible in Q01 07, which just happens to be the point at which LEND suddenly discovered that it could no longer prepare financial statements. Funny how that works.

At minimum, may we remind everyone that the 2005 subprime mortgage vintage was on track to become the Worst Ever until . . . you know . . . we had data on 2006?