'Liar Loans' Make a Comeback

Categorized | sub-prime

‘Liar Loans’ Make a Comeback

‘Liar Loans’ Make a Comeback

Banks Are Quietly Reestablishing Mortgages That Don’t Require Income Documentation

By Stephane Fitch, Forbes.com
July 8, 2010

Did you think the housing collapse killed off “liar loans”–those infamous bubble-era mortgages for which people were allowed to get creative in portraying their ability to make the payments? Well, they’re back, and that may be a good thing.

All the rage during the peak of the housing boom, these mortgages went by names like “no-doc” (meaning no documentation of income required), “low-doc” or “stated-income” mortgages. In all cases, banks set aside their underwriting standards based on what borrowers could prove they were earning with pay stubs, tax returns and the like. Instead, lenders started trusting borrowers to “forecast” future income and underwrote loans based on those projections (using as a fallback the house itself as collateral).

In the height of the housing boom in 2006 and 2007, low-doc loans accounted for roughly 40% of newly issued mortgages in the U.S., according to mortgage-data firm FirstAmerican CoreLogic. University of Chicago assistant professor Amit Seru says that for subprime loans, the portion exceeded 50%.

Then came the housing collapse, with subprime loan defaults playing a leading role, particularly the low-doc “liar” variety. The delinquency rate for subprime loans reached 39% in early 2009, seven times the rate in 2005, according to LPS Applied Analytics.

Ashlyn Aiko Nelson, a public policy lecturer at Indiana University, studied the low-doc loan craze. She and two of her colleagues concluded that low-doc borrowers exaggerated their incomes by 15% to 19%. “Our sense was that investors knew that people were lying, but figured it was OK because house prices would keep going up and the homeowners could refinance,” says Nelson.

DinSFLA here: Again, who exaggerated their incomes? All of a sudden the consumer is in charge of the loan origination? Who exactly sent the file to the Underwriter? Surely not the unlicensed borrower who’s job is to broker loans!

The most outrageous types of no-doc lending disappeared entirely in 2009. Many mortgage pros say they’re unaware of banks making any low-doc loans in recent months. (A Forbes editor was, however, approached by a leading bank recently with an offer to refinance his home without documenting his income.)

Continue reading…….HERE

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