Institutional Affiliation: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
|Loan Product Steering in Mortgage Markets|
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We present evidence of a particular type of loan steering in which lenders lead borrowers to take out high margin mortgage products. We identify this activity by comparing borrowers who were rejected by lenders but were subsequently approved by their affiliates (steered borrowers) to other initially rejected borrowers who obtained loans elsewhere. Although steered borrowers default less, they pay significantly higher interest rates and are more likely to borrow through contracts with unconventional features, such as negative amortization or prepayment penalties. Female borrowers, single borrowers with no co-signers, and borrowers in low-income locations are more likely to be steered.
|The Effectiveness of Mandatory Mortgage Counseling: Can One Dissuade Borrowers from Choosing Risky Mortgages?|
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We explore the effects of mandatory third-party review of mortgage contracts on consumer choice--including the terms and demand for mortgage credit. Our study is based on a legislative pilot carried out by the State of Illinois in a selected set of zip codes in 2006. Mortgage applicants with low FICO scores were required to attend loan reviews by financial counselors. Applicants with high FICO scores had to attend counseling only if they chose "risky mortgages." We find that low-FICO applicants for whom counselor review was mandatory did not materially change their contract choice. Conversely, applicants who could avoid counseling by choosing less risky mortgages did so. Ironically, the ultimate goals of the legislation (e.g., better loan terms for borrowers) were only achieved among the p...
|Predatory Lending and the Subprime Crisis|
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We measure the effect of an anti-predatory pilot program (Chicago, 2006) on mortgage default rates to test whether predatory lending was a key element in fueling the subprime crisis. Under the program, risky borrowers and/or risky mortgage contracts triggered review sessions by housing counselors who shared their findings with the state regulator. The pilot cut market activity in half, largely through the exit of lenders specializing in risky loans and through decline in the share of subprime borrowers. Our results suggest that predatory lending practices contributed to high mortgage default rates among subprime borrowers, raising them by about a third.
Published: Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Evanoff, Douglas D., 2014. "Predatory lending and the subprime crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 29-52. citation courtesy of