wall st

Bad US mortgage loans now big business on Wall Street

Feb 19 (IFR) – Delinquent and defaulting mortgage loans to struggling US borrowers have become big business on Wall Street, as investors scoop up bonds backed by non-performing loans (NPLs).

With millions of borrowers still under water or facing foreclosure, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and others are snapping up NPLs at a discount, hoping to earn returns from their eventual resolution or liquidation.

And the more value that can be extracted from each loan, the better the returns – which means it is in the interest of investors to work with troubled borrowers to find solutions.

As the cost of funds comes down and yields tighten, loan buyers are finding it more attractive to finance these purchases through securitization, which can sometimes fund between 75% and 85% of the market value of the NPLs, according to structured finance experts.

“Investors are interested in buying NPL securitizations because the senior bond has tremendous credit enhancement and it’s a fairly short-term investment providing more yield,” said Eric Burner, a partner at law firm Hunton & Williams.

“In this interest rate environment, that’s appealing.”

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