Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Homeowners Not To Get Bailout Money


It comes as quite a surprise to many, like the 535 members of Congress, that the recommendation and plans put forth by the F.D.I.C. regarding the way in which to help homeowners and stabilize the housing market is being ignored by the Administration's Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson.

Now, truth be told, Secretary Paulson is probably a good bit smarter and experienced than I am, but perhaps some of his advisers and employees are not. More to the point, I suggest that F.D.I.C., suggesting a direct to homeowner mortgage aid program, may have the correct perspective. If the complaint is accurate, that the problem started due to adjustable mortgages being sold to and "bought" by sub-prime borrowers leading to Mortgage Backed Securities ("MBS"), then fixing those mortgages should alleviate the worst of the problems.

The securities markets, those entities that buy and sell literally millions of mortgages after they are bundled into MBS, have determined that the assets, because the true Fair Market Value is unknown, are worthless. That is as absurd as stating that they are worth 100% of the principal and interest owed on each underlying mortgage. EXTREMES - both views. There will be losses, but if they can be quantified by F.D.I.C. or any other agency of the Federal government, the investors in MBS should be more secure, have a sense of balance restored, and allow the markets to return to a sense of normalcy.

The F.D.I.C. program, in its entirety is at, http://www.fdic.gov/loans/loanmod/index.html. The basics are to underwrite a portion of the outstanding mortgages where there is a default, so that the holders of the MBS know that the value is still there. The basics of the program, which the Treasury is fighting despite the rules for use of the Bailout funds, is to MODIFY EXISTING MORTGAGE LOANS

1. Pay servicers $1,000 to cover expenses for each loan modified
2. FDIC/bailout funds would share up to 50% of the losses if a modified loan re-defaults

FDIC projections state that 2.22 million loans could be modified, having a book value of $444 billion with a total program cost of only $24.4 billion. Assuming a 33% default rate 1.5 million foreclosures could be avoided

One might also believe that while the people working for Secretary Paulson are working around the clock and are very bright, some of them in key spots have no experience in this type if crisis. If you have never worked-out failed assets (loans) in real-life, not just through computer modeling, nor as estimated by economists, actuaries, financial analysts, and Goldman Sachs/Wall Street, you may miss critical details. Here, to fix the problem, the problem must be understood: it is not securities; it is the inability to pay mortgages and the resulting erosion of home values.

THERE IS NO EASY ANSWER! That does not mean that we should have had to panic, lose confidence in the system itself, and, by stampede, cause the securities market drop like a rock.

author's copyright by Richard I. Isacoff, Esq. - November 2008


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