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Monday, July 23, 2007

Wells Fargo Pulls 2/28 Subprime Loans

by Calculated Risk on 7/23/2007 04:32:00 PM

From Reuters: Wells Fargo pulls popular subprime loan from mix.

Wells Fargo & Co. ... on Monday said it stopped offering a popular subprime mortgage product in response to market and regulatory pressure.

The company in an e-mail said it ended on Friday retail offerings of so-called 2/28 loans, which at 65 percent of all subprime mortgages last year are the staple of the industry. ...

Decisions were partly driven by the $583 billion market for subprime mortgage bonds, where sales rely on opinions of rating companies such as Moody's Investors Service, Wells Fargo said. Rating companies in the past two weeks have unleashed a flood of downgrades on subprime bonds in response to rising delinquencies and increased their assumptions of losses that new loans will produce.

"These changes are being made to align our practices with industry guidance, as well as appropriately respond to recent downgrades by key ratings agencies regarding subprime bonds," the San Francisco-based bank said in a statement. ...

Other big lenders including Countrywide Financial Corp., Washington Mutual Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co.'s First Franklin and H&R Block Inc.'s Option One Mortgage have also said they would stop making 2/28s.