Mortgage Companies and Regulatory Arbitrage
Journal of Financial Economics,
Mortgage companies (MCs) do not fall under the strict regulatory regime of depository institutions. We empirically show that this gap resulted in regulatory arbitrage and allowed bank holding companies (BHCs) to circumvent consumer compliance regulations, mitigate capital requirements, and reduce exposure to loan-related losses. Compared to bank subsidiaries, MC subsidiaries of BHCs originated riskier mortgages to borrowers with lower credit scores, lower incomes, higher loan-to-income ratios, and higher default rates. Our results imply that precrisis regulations had the capacity to mitigate the deterioration of lending standards if consistently applied and enforced for all types of intermediaries.
Informed and Uninformed Investment in Housing: The Downside of Diversification
Review of Financial Studies,
Mortgage lenders that concentrate in a few markets invest more in information collection than diversified lenders. Concentrated lenders focus on the information-intensive jumbo market and on high-risk borrowers. They are better positioned to price risks and, thus, ration credit less. Adverse selection, however, leads to higher retention of mortgages relative to diversified lenders. Finally, concentrated lenders have higher profits than diversified lenders, their profits vary less systematically, and their stock prices fell less during the 2007—2008 credit crisis. The results imply that geographic diversification led to a decline in screening by lenders, which likely played a role in the 2007–2008 crisis.