Research


This paper describes an important borrower risk factor observed privately by the issuer of non-agency RMBS. The private information available to the issuer is drawn from behavioral cues exhibited early in the life of the loan. Mortgage borrowers that make their first six payments at least a day prior to the due date are 14.8 percentage points less likely to become delinquent (equivalent to a 91-point increase in FICO score). This effect is persistent, unobservable at loan origination, and privately observed by the issuer prior to securitization. Both the credit rating agencies and the investor do not appear to be aware of this risk factor. Surprisingly, issuers are quicker to securitize loans with positive private signals rather than less promising loans.

Competition in Local Mortgage Markets
    (with Mark J. Garmaise and Gabriel Natividad)

We identify local lending shocks for competing mortgage providers by uncovering discontinuities in mortgage acceptance models. Shocks to standard measures of the concentration of its competitors do not explain a bank's future lending patterns. Instead it is the expansion of a bank's most aggressive competitor that leads to reduced lending, particularly at the very local level. A stronger shock to this competitor also leads a bank to charge higher interest rates, which are partially explained by the observable worsening of its borrower pool. Competition also has a negative effect on unobservable risk; it leads to worse mortgage performance.