In a strange reverberation of the housing crisis, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has become a voracious buyer of soured mortgages, trying to make money even as it looks to fulfill terms of a government settlement that calls for it to help struggling homeowners.
Over the past year-and-a-half, the Wall Street giant has become the largest buyer of severely delinquent home loans from mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The firm has acquired nearly two-thirds of $9.6 billion in loans the agency has auctioned, representing unpaid loan balances of $5.7 billion, a Wall Street Journal review of government records shows.
Goldman’s buying spree has been sparked by a $5.1 billion settlement the firm entered into last year with federal and state governments over its role in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securities in the housing meltdown. As part of this, the firm agreed to provide $1.8 billion in homeowner relief.