Monday, May 23, 2005

Presidential Address

If you have 40 minutes and want to learn a great deal about finance, listen (and/or watch) Rene Stulz's presidential address. He gave this at the 2005 AFA meetings in Philadelphia.

The basic theme of his speech is globalization. He points out that the world is not yet flat and the "impact of financial globabilization has been limited." Why? "...because of the “twin agency problems” that arise because rulers of sovereign states and corporate insiders pursue their own interests at the expense of outside investors. When these twin agency problems are significant, diffuse ownership is inefficient and corporate insiders must co-invest with other investors, retaining substantial equity. The resulting ownership concentration limits economic growth, financial development, and the ability of a country to take advantage of financial globalization."

VERY interesting!

Rene Stulz' Presidential Address

As an aside, I learned his office may be as organized as mine!!! :)

4 comments:

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Debt Consolidation
Debt Consolidation entails taking out one loan to pay off many others. This is often done to secure a lower interest rate, secure a fixed interest rate or for the convenience of servicing only one loan.

Debt consolidation can simply be from a number of unsecured loans into another unsecured loan, but more often it involves a secured loan against an asset that serves as collateral, which is most commonly a house (in this case a mortgage is secured against the house.) The collateralization of the loan allows a lower interest rate than without it, because by collateralizing, the asset owner agrees to allow the forced sale (foreclosure) of the asset in order to pay back the loan. The risk to the lender is reduced so the interest rate offered is lower.

Sometimes, debt consolidation companies can discount the amount of the loan. When the debtor is in danger of bankruptcy, the debt consolidator will buy the loan at a discount. A prudent debtor can shop around for consolidators who will pass along some of the savings. Consolidation can affect the ability of the debtor to discharge debts in bankruptcy, so the decision to consolidate must be weighed carefully.

Debt consolidation is often advisable in theory when someone is paying credit card debt. Credit cards can carry a much larger interest rate than even an unsecured loan from a bank. Debtors with property such as a home or car may get a lower rate through a secured loan using their property as collateral. Then the total interest and the total cash flow paid towards the debt is lower allowing the debt to be paid off sooner, incurring less interest. In practice, many people are in credit card debt because they spend more than their income. If that habit continues, the consolidation will not benefit them much because they will simply increase their credit card balances again.

Because of the theoretical advantage that debt consolidation offers a consumer that has high interest debt balances, companies can take advantage of that benefit of refinancing to charge very high fees in the debt consolidation loan. Sometimes these fees are near the state maximum for mortgage fees. In addition, some unscrupulous companies will knowingly wait until a client has backed themselves into a corner and must refinance in order to consolidate and pay off bills that they are behind on the payments. If the client does not refinance they may lose their house, so they are willing to pay any allowable fee to complete the debt consolidation. In some cases the situation is that the client does not have enough time to shop for another lender with lower fees and may not even be fully aware of them. This practice is known as predatory lending. Certainly many, if not most, debt consolidation transactions do not involve predatory lending.

Student Loan Consolidation
In the United States, federal student loans are consolidated somewhat differently, as federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government. In a federal student loan consolidation, existing loans are purchased and closed by a loan consolidation company or by the Department of Education (depending on what type of federal student loan the borrower holds). Interest rates for the consolidation are based on that year's student loan rate, which is in turn based on the 91-day Treasury bill rate at the last auction in May of each calendar year.

Student loan rates can fluctuate from the current low of 4.70% to a maximum of 8.25% for federal Stafford loans, 9% for PLUS loans. The current consolidation program allows students to consolidate once with a private lender, and reconsolidate again only with the Department of Education. Upon consolidation, a fixed interest rate is set based on the then-current interest rate. Reconsolidating does not change that rate. If the student combines loans of different types and rates into one new consolidation loan, a weighted average calculation will establish the appropriate rate based on the then-current interest rates of the different loans being consolidated together.

Federal student loan consolidation is often referred to as refinancing, which is incorrect because the loan rates are not changed, merely locked in. Unlike private sector debt consolidation, student loan consolidation does not incur any fees for the borrower; private companies make money on student loan consolidation by reaping subsidies from the federal government.

Student loan consolidation can be beneficial to students' credit rating, but it's important to note that not all federal student loan consolidation companies report their loans to all credit bureaus; Experian or Transunion, which means that students will have differing credit scores at Equifax Transunion, and Experian.

Mortgage Loan Types
There are many types of mortgage loans. The two basic types of amortized loans are the fixed rate mortgage (FRM) and adjustable rate mortgage.

In a FRM, the interest rate, and hence monthly payment, remains fixed for the life (or term) of the loan. In the U.S., the term is usually for 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The only increase a consumer might see in their monthly payments would result from an increase in their property taxes or insurance rates (paid using an escrow account, if they've opted to use an escrow). But payments for principal and interest will be consistent throughout the life of the loan using an FRM.

In an ARM, the interest rate is fixed for a period of time, after which it will periodically (annually or monthly) adjust up or down to some market index. Common indices in the U.S. include the Prime Rate, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), and the Treasury Index ("T-Bill"). Other indexes like 11th District Cost of Funds Index, COSI, and MTA, are also available but are less popular.

Adjustable rates transfer part of the interest rate risk from the lender to the borrower, and thus are widely used where unpredictable interest rates make fixed rate loans difficult to obtain. Since the risk is transferred, lenders will usually make the initial interest rate of the ARM's note anywhere from 0.5% to 2% lower than the average 30-year fixed rate.

In most scenarios, the savings from an ARM outweigh its risks, making them an attractive option for people who are planning to keep a mortgage for ten years or less.

Additionally, lenders rely on credit reports and credit scores derived from them. The higher the score, the more creditworthy the borrower is assumed to be. Favorable interest rates are offered to buyers with high scores. Lower scores indicate higher risk to the lender, and lenders require higher interest rates in such scenarios to compensate for increased risk.

A partial amortization or balloon loan is one where the amount of monthly payments due are calculated (amortized) over a certain term, but the outstanding principal balance is due at some point short of that term. This payment is sometimes referred to as a "balloon payment". A balloon loan can be either a Fixed or Adjustable in terms of the Interest Rate. Many Second Trust mortgages use this feature. The most common way of describing a ''balloon loan'' uses the terminology X due in Y, where X is the number of years over which the loan is amortized, and Y is the year in which the principal balance is due. A contract could be written up so there would be more than one "balloon payment" required to be paid during the life of the loan.

Other loan types
Assumed mortgage
Blanket loan
Bridge loan
Budget loan
Commercial Loan
Deed of trust
Equity loan
Hard money loan
Jumbo mortgages
Package loan
Participation mortgage
Reverse mortgage
Repayment mortgage
Seasoned mortgage
Term loan or Interest-only loan
Wraparound mortgage
Negative amortization loan
Non-Conforming Mortgage


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tim said...

Most mortgage industry observers are bracing for a downturn in mortgage securitization activity in 2011, which may help MBS investors enjoy another prosperous year. “All in all, securitized investors should still do well in 2011, though perhaps not as well as in 2010,”