Friday, May 15, 2009

NY Times Norris on Pick-a-pay Loans

by Bill McBride on 5/15/2009 12:21:00 AM

From Floyd Norris at the NY Times: A Bank Is Survived by Its Loans

World Savings ... did not sell its loans into securitizations, so it knew it stood to lose if a loan went bad. Virtually all of the pick-a-pay loans were for less than 80 percent of the appraised value of the home, and the average was just 71 percent. World said it made loans only to those who could afford the stepped-up monthly payment after the reset, and said it did not lend to subprime borrowers.
...
Most banks forced the borrower to start making much larger monthly payments if the amount owed ... rose to 110 percent of the appraised value of the home when the loan was made. World ... did not force the payments up until the amount owed was 25 percent greater than the original value.
World Savings appeared to make safe loans, but they were very generous on the cap for when the loans recast. World also used the original appraised value, and there was no reappraisal provision.

So even though the borrowers originally had substantial "skin in the game", many of the borrowers are deep underwater - and are now really renters.

Note: World was part of Golden West which was bought by Wachovia, and is now owned by Wells Fargo.
The amount owed on such loans at the end of March was $115 billion, which Wells estimates is 107 percent of the current value of the properties underlying the mortgages.
...
Only $325 million of the loans — less than a third of 1 percent — will reset by the end of 2012.
...
Wells Fargo has written the value of the pick-a-pay portfolio down by about 20 percent, and is offering to restructure some of the loans. But many of the owners may have no reason to seek such a restructuring. ... The result may be perverse: a prolonged foreclosure crisis ...
At least we don't have to worry about many of these loans blowing up over the next few years!

Note: I think Norris means recast, not reset, "Reset" refers to a rate change. "Recast" refers to a payment change.

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