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Friday, February 16, 2007

Warehouse Lender Acting "Irrationally"

by Calculated Risk on 2/16/2007 04:23:00 PM

From MarketWatch: Merrill, J.P. Morgan pull back in credit crunch at low-end of mortgage market. This article is mostly a summary of recent events:

A credit crunch in the market for low-end mortgages has left companies specializing in these subprime loans at the mercy of big banks like Merrill Lynch & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase.
Warehouse lenders have started worrying about the quality of subprime loans that have been originated in recent years. Some are now asking subprime specialists for bigger haircuts, putting the originators in financial peril and forcing some into bankruptcy.

"Warehouse lenders are the lifelines for a lot of these subprime originators because they don't have the financial capacity to fund these loans by themselves," Ernie Napier, head of the specialty finance team at rating agency Standard & Poor's, said. "To the extent that these warehouse lenders go away, the whole process starts to unravel."
But this is interesting:
"We have eight different warehouse lenders; I would say the majority of them are acting very rationally," [Stuart Marvin, executive vice president, Accredited Home Lenders] said. "There is one that is acting somewhat irrationally, although I won't mention them by name. We have migrated the fundings away from that warehouse lender to one of the other seven until they begin to act more rationally again."

Industry publication National Mortgage News said this week that Merrill Lynch has been making margins calls. A Merrill spokesman declined to comment.
Someone is acting "irrationally"? Maybe someone has taken some huge losses. Or maybe, in Mr. Marvin's view, the seven other warehouse lenders will start acting "irrationally" soon.