Garfield Continuum White Paper Explains Economics of Securitization of Residential Mortgages

SEE The Economics and Incentives of Yield Spread Premiums and Credit Default Swaps

March 23, 2010: Editor’s Note: The YSP/CDS paper is intentionally oversimplified in order to demonstrate the underlying economics of securitization as it was employed in the last decade.

To be clear, there are several things I was required to do in order to simplify the financial structure for presentation that would be understandable. Even so, it takes careful study and putting pencil to paper in order to “get it.”

In any reasonable analysis the securitization scheme was designed to cheat investors and borrowers in their respective positions as creditors and debtors. The method used was deceit, producing (a) an asymmetry of information and (b) a trust relationship wherein the trust was abused by the sellers of the financial instruments being promoted.

So before I get any more comments about it, here are some clarifying comments about my method.

1. The effects of amortization. The future values of the interest paid are overstated in the example and the premiums or commissions are over-stated in real dollars, but correct as they are expressed in percentages.

2. The effects of present values: As stated in the report, the future value of interest paid and the future value of principal received are both over-statements as they would be expressed in dollars today. Accordingly, the premium, commission or profit is correspondingly higher in the example than it would be in real life.

3. The effects of isolating a single loan versus the reality of a pool of loans. The examples used are not meant to convey the impression that any single loan was securitized by itself. Thus the example of the investment and the loan are hypothetical wherein an average jumbo loan is isolated from the pool from one of the lower tranches and an average bond is isolated from a pool of investors, and the isolated the loan is allocated to in part to only one of the many investors who in real life, would actually own it.

The following is the conclusion extracted directly from the white paper:

Based upon the foregoing facts and circumstances, it is apparent that the securitization of mortgages over the last decade has been conducted on false premises, false representations, resulting in intentional and inevitable negative outcomes for the debtors and creditors in virtually every transaction. The clear provisions for damages and other remedies provided under the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act are sufficient to make most homeowners whole if they are applied. Since the level 2 yield spread premium (resulting from the difference in money advanced by the creditor (investor) and the money funded for mortgages) also give rise to claim from investors, it will be up to the courts how to apportion the the actual money damages. Examination of most loans that were securitized indicates that they are more than offset by undisclosed profits, kickbacks, fees, premiums, and rebates. The balance of “damages” due under applicable federal lending and securities laws will require judicial intervention to determine apportionment between debtors and creditors.

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