Subprime blame game

Some 2.4 million homeowners are in danger of losing their homes, many because of bad subprime loans. Critics are pointing their fingers at who is responsible - here are the main targets.

Lenders
Lenders
The charge: Lenders relaxed underwriting standards far too much and made loans they should have known would not be repaid.

Lenders got increasingly accepting of high-risk loan applicants. They had discovered years ago that they could sell subprime loans in the secondary markets by adding stiff risk premiums to the interest rates they charged.

Even though a far higher percentage of the loans would go delinquent, the higher payments from borrowers still paying back the loans would more than offset the delinquencies.

Rising home prices enabled lenders to maintain this equation for years. Appreciation meant that even borrowers who fall behind might have already built up substantial home equity in those two years, equity they could tap to make up shortfalls.

But when home price appreciation stopped its meteoric rise, it caught up many borrowers with no more home equity to draw on.

Bottom line: Lenders made far too many loans to borrowers they knew, or should have known, would not be able to pay them back. That, probably more than any other factor, will drive an increase in foreclosures during the next year or two.


Mortgage brokers

Appraisers

Regulators

Lenders

Wall Street

Agents

Borrowers
Now more than ever it pays to be a prime borrower - here's how to be that guy. (more)
Housing activists say families that have mortgages with questionable terms should be given six months to work out deals. (more)

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.