"This product was meant to help people do construction on their house,
[and] do debt consolidation — not to take out every last dollar of
equity in their home to finance a different kind of lifestyle."
-Charles Scharf, head of J.P. Morgan’s retail business.
That is, in a short phrase, the reason that the US consumer is all spent out. They used debt and home equity — as opposed to Income gains — to finance an improving lifestyle. After the vacations are passed, the big screen TV and new cars become old, what are you left with?
Appreciation in the value of your home has long been considered a form of forced savings. (As in don’t eat your seed corn). The economic boost is over, the savings impact is significant, and you are left with a financial hangover. Talk about a negative wealth effect.
For the banks, it raises all different manners of headaches. Unlike Mortgages, Home Equity loans are secondary against the collateral — the house itself:
"While banks can foreclose on a first-lien mortgage,
lenders often have little recourse when trying to collect a delinquent
home-equity loan, especially if another bank holds the primary
mortgage. Banks holding home-equity loans generally can only seize the
collateral — a house — after the mortgage is paid off.
When another bank holds the mortgage and the mortgage
payments are current, the home-equity lender is effectively powerless
to collect the debt.
Unfortunately for home-equity lenders, many borrowers
understand that pecking order, concluding there are few repercussions
if they stop making payments on their home-equity loan . . . Other types of consumer loans also are souring,
including credit cards and auto loans. But delinquent home-equity loans
are rising faster, representing 12.5% of all delinquent loans in the
fourth quarter at Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. bank
in stock-market value. That was up from 9.4% in last year’s first
quarter, according to research firm SNL Financial.
Pretty amazing stuff.
The bankers are finally asking themselves "How the hell did we get into this mess?" The answer surprises no one:
Leaning on outside mortgage brokers for home-equity business was "one
of the biggest mistakes we’ve made." Those loans have
performed worse than home-equity loans generated by J.P. Morgan.
-Charles Scharf, head of J.P. Morgan’s retail business.
Indeed . . .
Latest Trouble Spot for Banks: Souring Home-Equity Loans
Losses May Hit Lenders That Skirted Subprime; Surprise Delinquents
WSJ, March 12, 2008
“This product was meant…”
“meant”… hmmm. I’d say there is a problem. Business is business and you do it by the numbers, not by the meanings, the shadings, the leanings.
If people actually planned on staying in their homes forever, they’d think twice about doubling the size because they’d intuitively realize that they’d be retiring with debt.
Now, housing is another commodity. You buy the big house thinking you’ll live there for a few years and just sell it when you enter a new stage in life.
The problem is that we’re going to get a big wave of Boomers who are going to want to sell to Gen-X and they’re finally going to understand how our system is based on a Ponzi scheme. You always need more people behind you for the system to keep on working. For the first time in decades there won’t be as many buyers down the pipeline as there were for the older group! Unless of course you open the borders to foreigners… but historically the US has not been very open to the world in times of crisis.
Yes population will grow over the long term (20-50 years) and buy up the excess real estate but over the next 5-10-15 years, we’re going to feel the impact of a small Gen-X cohort with not much money and Boomers trying to cash out to live their retirement according to the standards of Freedom 55.
I used to sit in HB meetings with ever-so-slick and shiny Mortgage Brokers (having just parked their new $100K+ automotive toys in the visitors lot), who would announce, with an air of smug entitlement, that they had come up with some innovative new “products” that could get virtually any buyer into a new home. The execs liked them, the salespeople liked them, the HBs marketing staff didn’t understand them. I understood them, and the danger they posed to the long term viability of my clients’ businesses.
Of course, I was the stick in the mud – the guy who wouldn’t go along. The thought of money makes some people drool.
The kicker was this deal: No doc, 1st mortgage, 100%, interest only ARM. 2nd mortgage (remember, this is going in to the deal) to cover buy downs, condo/HOA fees/settlement costs, no doc, ARM, 2-3 year balloon.
Who made money on this deal? The Brokers, via commissions and fees. The builders seemed to make money, but they actually signed-up for the death of their businesses by attrition.
We are harvesting a crop of fraud.
Somebody(ies) should be jailed.
Saw one of these fella’s recently at a troubled condo project in NOVA. He still had the car and the shiny suit, but he looked worried when I asked him how business was going. He’d have been much more worried if he had known how badly I wanted kick his ass and haul him to the authorities to collect my bounty.
funny thing about every single ad I have seen on TV or mailing I have gotten pushing helocs????
all mentioned vacations and boat buying as if that was the proper use of home equity. Does this banker ever look at his own marketing material? I hate this kind of after the fact lecture from the very same greedy assholes who won’t take resposibility for their contribution to duping stupid consumers…reap what you sow big banker.
That distinction between “debt consolidation” (good) and future spending (bad) is fallacious.
What is the difference between taking a cruise, buying new furniture, etc., on a credit card and later “consolidating” debt by taking it of home equity, or reversing the order?
all mentioned vacations and boat buying as if that was the proper use of home equity. Does this banker ever look at his own marketing material?
This cannot be repeated enough. All this blame-game is doing is convincing me that CEO asset seizure is a good idea.
Bush has taken credit for “Ownership” the last few years. He and GOP Congress’s 2004 Bill for zero-down financing show you which way the “values party” feels about the values of thrift.
They should call themselves the Lifestyle party. FOX news: Fair and Fashionable.
It is stunning how many banks were sucked into this mess. March of the lemmings?
How could they think that mortgages at 6 to 10 times borrower earnings could go on for long, even if they could bundle their loans and sell to the greater fool? The housing bubble driven by a Greed Bubble, HELOCs welcome.
Percentage of all home-equity loans that defaulted is only 0.23%!
If you listen to US opinionated media, you will get an impression as if it is 23%.
It’s not quite correct to say that there is no recourse for home equity lenders. They can still foreclose their loan, and get the tail of the equity in their pockets–which would of course be meaningless if there really isn’t any tail to pocket. I think that’s why they rarely are pursuing any type of remedy.
Which points to the bad business decision on their part in lending money against an asset that absolutely requires appreciation of the asset in order for their loan to be truly secured.
Holman Jenkins has a good article in the WSJ today on why the fed needs to let the markets find a bottom, but is doing just the opposite w/ its myriad programs amounting to covert nationalization of the mortgage industry–http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120528077518628769.html?mod=todays_columnists
Until the market is allowed to find a bottom in prices, there won’t be any real recovery. We are, it seems, all Keynesians now, throwing government money at the housing industry whilst hoping against hope that it remains solvent for longer than it stays irrational.
Posted by: Via Aurelia
You miss the larger point: This is what has been driving consumerism via available debt (credit) for the past decade or so. It was based on fraudulently valued collateral and the false, viral marketing meme that housing prices never go down. Now, it’s gone.
What struck me is the comment about the mortgage brokers arrogance during the good times. A high tide allowed the some jokers to do very well for a couple years and they were all too happy to flaunt how great things were and smart they were. At a local law office my friend worked at (since laid off) they had a company limo and a party life style during the workday (booze and employing pretty woman who were not even close to qualified, etc.). It sounded more like a college party atmosphere than a place of business and I guess the scene was all too common in the industry.
I get that this has all been an utter fraud. And it’s really not correct for me to say the markets are behaving irrationally, except perhaps from the homebuilder/bank perspective. (Sometimes even if we are all Keynsians, the quotes just don’t quite fit.)
In any event, the point is that the housing market won’t recover in any real way until the fraud of inflated values are threshed from the system, and the fed is acting at cross purposes to that end.
That last one should have been by “DonKei”, not “Donk”…
Get ready for the 1,000,000 dollar bill.
There is a consensus among a wise breed of economists that the Fed does not have the conventional weapons to win this insolvency war.
Indeed, Mr. Bernanke has little to show for each of the monetary attacks he has launched so far.
By failing to win the battles he chooses to fight, Mr. Bernanke looses credibility. Yet he projects a dangerous false sense of assertiveness that he’ll prevail.
The sad truth is that, in the end, Mr. Bernanke only option is to print enough money to bring inflation to the level of overvalued housing prices.
The issue is not how many loans are delinquent, as many will be soon, after “homeowners figure out what they are paying on an underwater asset. The problem is what happens five years from now when more and more boomers face retirement with little home equity, no defined benefit pension, and fewer Wal-Marts to get a greeter job for food.
Of course, Wall Street always benchmarks against last year’s bonuses rather than last year’s risk.
Those models of default were valid when the biggest loan amount was a 36% DTI. That’s the rate even for the new deal’s governmental mortgage agency (i forget the acronym.) If today’s DTI is 125%, how would the default rate NOT be higher?
However, this doesn’t surprise me. Business majors can’t handle engineering math.. and we’re shocked they forgot to check their assumptions?
to Marcus Aurelius, together with this broker the whole bunch of prosecutors should be jailed for not grading consumers interests plus this greedy imbecilic bankers. As about the chewing and farting and buying the cheap Chinese crap, we have to wait for the gen pool to clean itself. On the second thought with the midgets running for the president I don’t think it will.
In the mid to late 90’s I used to hock equity loans at BofA. I can tell you BofA used to have very stringent credit criteria. I remember having to tell a lot of people no. Anything less than excellent credit was an automatic denial. Debt to income ratio’s had to be low and you had to have at least 80% equity AFTER the loan/line was established. My how quickly things changed!
This has been said in different ways above. Here’s my take on the situation.
1. We have an excessive debt situation in this country. Debt/GDP= 300% plus. A record high and growing exponentially. By excessive debt my definition is debt that can never be paid off.
2. There are only two options, as I see it:
-Go through a deflation, much like we did in the 1930s.
-Inflate your way out of debt. THis would seem to solve a lot of problems, like the Federal deficit, the trillions floating around overseas, and maybe the Medicare mess
Inflation seems to be the road Bernanke is taking and indeed he has written and talked about this plan. He famous talk about using helicopters to spread money around was all too telling.
The only problem is inflation (especially the hyper kind) is very destructive of governments.
“In 2002, when the word “deflation” began appearing in the business news, Bernanke gave a speech about deflation. In that speech, he mentioned that the government in a fiat money system owns the physical means of creating money. Control of the means of production for money implies that the government can always avoid deflation by simply issuing more money. (He referred to a statement made by Milton Friedman about using a “helicopter drop” of money into the economy to fight deflation.) Bernanke’s critics have since referred to him as “Helicopter Ben” or to his “helicopter printing press”. In a footnote to his speech, Bernanke noted that “people know that inflation erodes the real value of the government’s debt and, therefore, that it is in the interest of the government to create some inflation.””
Business followed the lead of their MBA President.
Massive criminality ensues.
Never elect a failed, yet wealthy, businessman to be your President.
Any candidate that I actually believed would purge the halls of those accountable and haul asses off to jail, all of them, would get my vote, irrespective of party loyalty.
Comment on short term management.
The banks (read upper management) by classic short term thinking. Manage to this quarters numbers (and oh by the way maximize your personal pay by getting the earnings growth and there fore stock price.) When it comes to your own pay you can justify almost anything in your own mind. Why worry about next year or a few years down the road, chances are you will have moved on anyway.
So the banks got involved in all kinds of loans, securitizations/derivatives that any second year accounting student could have told them would eventually blow up, but the banks showed good earnings, and the stock price did very well thank you. But now we’ve reached d-day, with the fed desperately trying to keep everything together. With a continuation of this Greek
tragedy the poor/government are paying to save the rich bankers from themselves.
Now that the HELOCs are no longer available to the general public to artificially inflate their incomes, perhaps they will notice how their stagnant middle-class income trend means their standard of living is actually lower than it was for the past few generations. The growing income disparity between the upper-class and the “average joe” was also no big deal when “joe” could live beyond his means through easy credit.
Maybe now the unwashed masses will wake-up and demand a bigger share of the pie….if there is any pie left after the implosion.
They did so to maintain their living standards, not to improve it. Living standards for the middle class have declined over the past 30 years.
The next class to suffer a big drop will be the 80-95% group, since the middle classes bones have been picked clean, the vultures have to move on to the next course.
We can’t jail them.
We are already jailing one percent of the population!
Robin Sidel makes what can politely be called a ‘misperception of reality’ when s/he says “Banks holding home-equity loans generally can only seize the collateral…after the mortgage is paid off.”
Poor contract drafting and local legal exceptions aside, I’d be willing to bet that >98% of the HELOC loans in the US can be forclosed upon as soon as they are in default. That’s how they are designed.
As DonKei points out, there’s probably no scraps left for them, though. This subordinated lender financial reality, not the WSJ’s mis-stated legal reality, is probably driving their decision not to.
Es tut mir vey der boykh:
He stated to get short if it fades in the afternoon.
So if it gets stronger, (which it did) it’s probably not a good idea to short.
Cramer regurgitated the same JPM line this
morning’s news, “home owner’s who borrowed over their heads caused this credit freeze”.
And Ben Bernanke is timid, but now “brave”.
And Elliot Spitzer is a fine family man.
Your investment is 100% liquid at all times.
The war in Iraq is not about seizing oil.
“Shoot her! Shoot her!!!” Juraissac Park
“We can’t jail them.
We are already jailing one percent of the population!”
LOL, and according to the BLS, they are not counted as unemployed since they do not consider going to jail as losing your job.
I doubt the definition of “fade” includes “2.5% rally in 4 hours.”
>> Interesting table!
>> Percentage of all home-equity loans that defaulted is only 0.23%!
>> If you listen to US opinionated media, you will get an impression as if it is 23%.
>> Posted by: Via Aurelia | Mar 12, 2008 9:05:46 AM
The charts do not provide a stat for “defaults”. The figures are:
– Delinquent = 2%
– Charged-off = .2%
“Delinquent” is the closest thing here to default. No?
Es tut mir vey der boykh –
Your screwed and you deserve it. Barry doesn’t care if you live or die.
To all the other greedy fools who played for a crash. I hope you loose everything.
“That is, in a short phrase, the reason that the US consumer is all spent out.”
Well, no, only some (a minority) of US consumers are all spent out. How about the 1/3 of homeowners who carry zero debt on their homes? And those of us who pay off the credit cards religiously every month? And who invest on a buy-and-never-sell basis because we actually save out of current income?
Don’t we count? We certainly spend.
Delinquent = Late = 2% (not all late payments end in default. I am sure you had a late credit card payment at some point. It does not mean you have defaulted on your credit card debt)
Charged-off = Defaulted = 0.2% (it means the loan was charged off by a bank as defaulted loan)
How is it that only shorts are “greedy fools”
Highly recommend you set a stop loss and stick to it. FWIW, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get to S&P 1400ish, but I don’t think this downtrend is over yet.
Amidst the madness, I hope we’re all enjoying the budding capitalists who are trying to make a buck off the Spitzer mess. T shirts and stickers everywhere. One of my favorites –
I think the media is doing it (exaggerating) for political reasons (Bush hating liberal media like NYT).
If you remember, Bill Clinton won (his famous: “It’s the economy stupid”) when the economy was not growing and the democrats blamed Bush (father) for it.
The democrats have been trying to do the same this time — get people pissed at Bush (and at the republicans) for a recession (real or perceived) – recession word is repeated constantly all the time in the media. An average Joe-six-pack hears it and pulls back the spending. They talk America into a recession.
It is harder now to make people hating Bush for Iraq, because there has been a day and night progress in Iraq lately, so the media has switched to bashing the economy.
If 1/3 of homeowners have no debt that still leaves 2/3 who do. Last I checked, 2/3 would be a majority. If the percentage of equity people have in their homes has dropped below 50% then all of that drop must come from the majority who owe money on their homes, because people who own their homes outright still have 100% equity whether the actual prices go up or down. That means the balance sheets of the majority have gotten a lot worse and thus there will be less money for them to spend.
Eliot just walked into some room with his toadies, opened his mouth, and spoked about the love his family has for him. ROTFLMAO. Feel the love Eliot.
shorts are about to get destroyed… 3 minutes till lift off..
“recession word is repeated constantly all the time in the media. An average Joe-six-pack hears it and pulls back the spending. They talk America into a recession.”
So, let me get this straight.
Many tens of thousands of relatively good-wage manufacturing jobs have disappeared outright, along with the accompanying defined-benefit pension plans and health insurance packages. Thousands of other middle-management and technical positions have been cut and/or outsourced as well, along with those benefit packages. The costs of housing ownership, health care, and higher education have skyrocketed for millions of Americans, far outpacing income growth. Gasoline at the pump has risen for everybody, with more sizeable increases on the way. The dramatic increase in foreclosures and delinquencies, along with the toxic CDO/SIV sludge they’re frantically trying to keep off their balance sheets has impelled banks and lending institutions to shut off access to HELOCs and reduce limits on credit cards. And all of this at the same time that housing prices are plunging in various areas of the country and many ARMs are resetting to dramatically higher interest rates.
Nope, none of this has remotely anything to do with JSP’s pulling back on spending; it’s all the fault of that damn librul media.
Rove and Rush would be proud of you.
Unfortunately, everything that you have just said was exaggerated and distorted B.S. If you examine the facts, not everything that you just said was true.
You are a perfect example of how the perception can be manipulated. You have been brainwashed so much that you do not even notice that your statements contradict each other.
“housing prices are plunging” vs. “costs of housing skyrocketed”
Examine the data first before blindly repeating the liberal media nonsense.
Actually Gen X is nearly as large as the Boomer generation. They just don’t have any money. They have been the ones getting screwed by this economy. Reactive generations always get screwed in the business cycle – see “Generations”. It’s all there.
The market is reacting to concerted central bank action taken during European hours
yesterday. In overnight trading Fed Bernanke and the ECB announced a joint new
auction facility of over $215 billion that would allow member banks to exchange AAA
mortgage debt for Treasuries for a 28 day period in a newly named Term Securities
Lending Facility (TSLF). This is a step toward a mortgage bailout but appears to only
apply to banks and only to AAA paper. Markets rallied with incredible sharpness in
response to the announcement with a 90% up-day in terms of breadth and volume today.
We suspect this therefore marks an intermediate-term low at least and will watch volume
and breadth action as the rally continues ahead to measure whether a bottom for this
recession has been made though our initial suspicion is that it hasn’t. 11 global markets
had made new lows yesterday, Asia was lower, and the Yen was starting to attack the 100
level, so the bailout announcement was very timely in preventing a crash for now in US
and global equity markets.
Stocks around the world have reacted quite positively to the action. If it is the tip of an
iceberg that includes the Fed ultimately acting as lender of last resort for mortgage paper
and sub-prime debt, then this could be the beginning of a more positive market
environment. However our suspicion is that the Fed is once again giving the market
enough to stop it from declining for a spell, but not enough to actually end the credit
crisis. Global bond markets in Asian trading are re-thinking the likelihood of ultimate
success as well already it appears too. The Fed is still expected to cut rates by 50 bp’s or
more at the FOMC meeting on the 18th. The combination of this TSLF move and the cuts
next week may allow markets to rally more sharply than they have since November.
However unless the bailout expands, it will do little to stop further write-downs and the
credit contraction. Sub-prime debts are not included in the Fed’s buying plans, and this is
where the real problems lie. Moreover in today’s world banks are hardly the only lenders
in the mortgage arena. Except for the 20 or so premium banks that deal directly with the
Fed, this TSLF does little to help other lenders. Ultimately we suspect an RTC type
bailout will have to be devised whereby some entity buys sub-prime paper and restores
liquidity to this sector of the market. So far the credit crunch has expanded as hedge
fund leverage is being sharply reduced, leveraged loan entities (like closed end funds and
virtual banks) are being deleveraged no matter how strong their loan portfolios, and even
Agencies are not able to auction upcoming debts. These problems and others are not
addressed, and this leads us to suspect that this plan will only provide a temporary boost
We’re witnessing one of the reasons bear markets can be so treacherous.
MIDAS RESOURCE GROUP
“Many tens of thousands of relatively good-wage manufacturing jobs have disappeared outright, along with the accompanying defined-benefit pension plans and health insurance packages. Thousands of other middle-management and technical positions have been cut and/or outsourced as well, along with those benefit packages.”
Is it because of progress, productivity, and automatization? (Do you believe in Darwinian evolution theory — survival of the fittest and adaptation?)
Is it because of the Unions and Billary-like commies? Look what has happened to GE, the company was transformed by the commies (Unions) from a profitable business that manufactures cars into a large money-losing pension fund that happens to make cars.
I was talking about GM (not GE)
Profitability at the expense of not taking care of “your own” = stagnant real wages + trickle down economics + asset inflation = people thinking they are rich + rich people thinking they are happy and in control (but mostly everyone is afraid) + more fear mongering (war) = indebtedness of the soul =
opportunity to change for the better or implode or ???
People in jail are not counted as unemployeed because they aren’t currently looking for work. Just pay attention to what the definition of the statistic is, and you’re good to go.
Of course basing policy off of a statistic that’s set up to measure garbage (core inflation!) is a different ball of wax.
“This product was meant to…..”
I think he means ‘advertized as…’
If it was ‘meant to’, like your mortage loan is ‘meant to’ pay for an actual house, then the bank would have MADE DAMN SURE that it was.
‘meant to…’? Really?
Donna wrote “Actually Gen X is nearly as large as the Boomer generation. They just don’t have any money. They have been the ones getting screwed by this economy.”
Amen to that. I get so tired of articles like this that blame the consumer. Yeah, I’m in debt, but not for boats and vacations! Try medical care for a kid with asthma, replacing the transmission in my Ford (I will not buy a Ford again), and putting my wife thru graduate school. “Keeping up with the Dow Jones” yeah, right. I’m just trying to stay alive. No $4k Valentine hookers here. I’m lucky to get dinner and a movie with my wife!
Via Aurelia, you’re 100% wrong.
” You are a perfect example of how the perception can be manipulated. ”
Look in the mirror. You are a perfect example of how Rush and Rove manipulate. Their saying something doesn’t (and won’t) make it true. For example, Reagan did not repudiate the business cycle.
” everything that you have just said was exaggerated and distorted B.S. ”
The same holds true for you.
” If you examine the facts ”
Indeed. Let’s examine some facts, shall we?
* Willful Republican lack of regulation at a time when multiple government officials urged governmental brakes on lending.
* Deliberate tax cuts that benefit the top 0.1% of wage earners at the expense of everyone else. Jobs were not created, tax dollars have not increased, and most importantly profits have not increased.
* Deliberate lies passing for an Executive branch.
1) The war in iraq will pay for itself.
a) Let’s see those oil profits. Not discussions of them, actual dollars. What? They’re not in government coffers? Well, where are they precisely? Exxon? Shocking!
b) $2B/day is the cost.. and what’s the positive benefit to America? Zero. I don’t give one screaming rip about neocon fantasies, it’s about money. Either pay the government back out of the coffers of Halliburton, or get out of office. Preferably both, actually.
2) Every word that passes through the face of Dick Cheney is a lie.
3) Most importantly, Republicans lie every day when they say that they support American citizens. The Republican party supports only bank CEO’s. Show me a single vote where they’ve selected anything else in the past 3 years.. proof is where their votes go, not what the mouth says.
Facts? Let’s see your facts :)
Go to the Census Bureau:
Gen X – 1965-1975 = 40M
Boomers: 1955-1965 = 44.7M
Boomers: 1045-1955 = 36M
Boomers’ parents benefitedform huge cohort to buy when they sold.
Older Boomers (1945-1955) downsizing house while more people behind them.
Younger boomers (1955-1965) will be downsizing by selling to a smaller group than them with no money.
This has not happened in a LONG time in the real estate market. Not since the 1930s.
I still can’t get that omnipresent HELOC ad out of my mind, “cash for whatever, whenever.” I never took one out, but I know people who took several – particularly people with kids, who felt they had to give the kids “opportunities.”
Who says it’s harder to hate Bush now?!?!??! I want to throw bricks at the tv every time that total MORON is on. How can you not hate a guy who has singlehandledly put this country on track for economic hell.
“Any candidate that I actually believed would purge the halls of those accountable and haul asses off to jail, all of them, would get my vote, irrespective of party loyalty.”
Hey, a Spitzer supporter!
Yeah It’s pretty amazing stuff. A loan to repay another loan that too mortgaging the same property which is held by another bank who also owes money. Ha ha pretty funny huh… I am sure the banker are in big troublr now.
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