Gamarna utfodras av staten

Gamarna äter ur statens hand.

Dagens New York Times berättar en historia som får en att undra över vilken planet man lever på. Så här låter den. Det var en gång ett bolag som hette Countrywide med en chef vid namn Stanford Kurland. I många år var bolaget den största spelaren i subprimelån till fattiga som egentligen aldrig borde tagit ett lån.

Countrywides affärer blev därför också en av orsakerna till att marknaden kraschade. Bolaget gick under och köptes upp av Bank of America som nu beslutat begrava namnet Countrywide, det luktade för mycket gam.

Den amerikanska statens räddningsplan för bankerna innebär att staten köper upp riskfyllda lån från konkursdrabbade banker. Det finns hundratals småbanker i landet som redan stängt sina dörrar. Sedan säljer staten lånen vidare till , just det, samma personer som hade en stor del i ansvaret för kraschen på bostadsmarknaden. Herr Kurland och andra gelikar har bildat nya bolag som specialiserat sig på att köpa upp bolån som folk inte kan betala tillbaka. Men hur kan de göra pengar på en sådan verksamhet ? Svaret är är att staten säljer de lån de tagit över från bankrutta banker till herr Kurland till reapriser, omkring 30 öre per krona, eller 30% av lånets värde om ni vill.

Nu är det bara att sätta igång telefonerna och kontakta de hotade husägarna. Husägarna erbjuds sänkta amorteringar , upp till 50%s sänkning. Det kan ju Kurland & Co. kosta på sig eftersom de köpt lånen till en tredjedel av deras värde. Det lyckliga slutet på historien är att gamarna kan räkna med att göra cirka 20 procents vinst på det egna kapitalet.

Men- kan någon säga – det är väl bra om husägaren slipper undan avhysning från sitt hem ? Visst, men varför är det de som orsakade krisen till att börja med som sedan ska nära sig på den.

Finansgamen Kurland visar stolt upp sina nya firma

-Det är som en pyroman som köper upp det nerbrunna huset och säljer det med vinst, skriver NYT.

Här på bloggen ställer vi en liten fråga. Varför ska staten sälja ut de dåliga lånen till gamarna ? Varför kan inte staten ge husägarna de bättre villkoren och självt ta hand om vinsten ? Finns det möjligen ideologiska motiv i bakgrunden ?

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11 reaktion på “Gamarna utfodras av staten

  1. Pingback: Solidariskt Sverige » Den passiva alliansen - Ingen ville prata arbetsmarknad i aktuellt

  2. Staten skall självklart sälja ut dpliga lån om det bedömns ge mer pengar än att själva riva in fordringarna.
    Om en fordran skrivs med säg 100 tusen, anser skattemyndigheten att detta är en inkomst och avskrivningen läggs på inkomsten och den beskattas. Lite bonuspengar till staten.
    Jag vet inte varifrån uppgiften kommer att staten säljer ut till 30% av lånets nominella värde.
    Ert räkneexempel haltar, ni förutsätter att köparen av lånen verkligen får in 50% och inte har en enda kostnad för att får in fordringarna. Om det vore sanning skulle folk stå i kö för att få ta del av den lukrativa businessen

  3. H2,
    Att staten säljer ut ”toxic waste”, som de kallar det, till reapriser är inget nytt. Det står varje dag i den amerikanska pressen. Här nedan ett utdrag ur dagens NYT där Paul Krugman frågar sig varför Obama vinglar i sitt agerande gentemot bankerna.

    ”In recent transactions, even AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities have sold for less than 40 cents on the dollar, but Mr. Geithner seems to think they’re worth much, much more.”

    De som verkligen har tillräckligt med pengar för att köpa upp bostadslån står verkligen i kö. Men det är inte vilket folk som helst. Det är dollarmiljonärer som nu luktar sig till feta vinster att göra på husägarnas och skattebetalarnas bekostnad.

  4. Benny
    Precis som du tycker jag att dessa affärer luktar illa.
    När man kritiserar dessa företeelser tycker jag däremot att man skall vara korrekt och saklig.
    Ditt/ert räknestycke på vinstberäkning är helt felaktigt därmed så försvinner udden av kritiken. Något som jag glömde igår är att om dessa spekultanter gör en ”vinst” på 20 efter att ha satsat 30 så vore det 66% vinst på det egna kapitalet, inte 20 som anges.
    Förutsättningen för en sådan marginal är då att alla pengarna får in under år 1 vilket inte är troligt när det gäller bostadslån. Troligare är att dessa kommer in under en period av 5-30 år beroende på lånets upplägg.

    Jag förstår att det finns folk som kan spekulera och göra vinster på dessa subprimelån och att skattebetalarnas pengar förloras, men hur menar du att husägarna förlorar på detta upplägget (bortsett ifrån att dom också är skattebetalare)

    En fundering, om Mr Geithner tror att dessa lån är värda mer än 40%, varför köper han inte själv då? Förresten här nämns ”lägre än 40%, varifrån kommer din siffra på 30%?

  5. H2,

    Liksom du försöker jag naturligtvis att vara saklig och korrekt(med siffror och källor). Ingen tjänar på falsk demagogi eftersom verkligheten oftast är mer brutal än fantasin.
    Först 40% eller 30%. Som du kan se handlar citatet ”under 40%” om AAA-lån. Inget subprimelån hamnar i den kategorin. 30% såg jag i den långa NYT-artikel som jag citerar som källa för min artikel. De talar till och med om ”under 30%”.
    För det andra. Geithner, som finansminister, kan ju inte själv köpa vad han redan äger, dvs staten äger.
    Sen vad det gäller de rent tekniska resonemangen kring vinst i bokföringsavseende kan jag inte garantera om artikeln i NYT pratar om vinst efter skatt, eller bruttovinst eller netto dito, eller någon annat räknesätt. Det anges inte. Kvar står att om du köper ett lån till ex. ett värde av 100 000 dollar för 30 000 dollar och lyckas driva in 50% av 100 000 så har du en bruttovinst på 20 000, för en insats på 30 000. Efter skatter och kostnader kanske det ger 10 000 (för att överdriva utgifterna). Då har du fortfarande tjänat 10 000. Det är dessa lättförtjänta vinster som gamarna luktar sig till. I dagens läge finns det inte många placeringar som ger 10 000 i vinst på 30 000 i insats även om det sprids ut över flera bokföringsår.

  6. Benny
    Om jag har 30 tusen och sätter dom på banken för 3% ränta i tio år så har jag 40 tusen utan arbetsinsats och utan risk. Minus den skatt jag betalar iofs.

    Det var många lån som bundlades till att bli AAA utan att vara det, jag förvånas över att man fortfarande kan tala om dessa lån som AAA.
    Att få in dessa lån eller delar av dom är inte så lukrativt som det kan tyckas och det är många riskfaktorer inblandade. Jag får det ärligt talat inte till lättförtjänta pengar, men jag retar mig på det negativa för skattebetalarna.

    Min kommentar om Geithner var lite onödigt dumt formulerad, men OM det är så billigt så borde han se till att behålla dessa skräplån. Kanske han behöver pengarna nu och då blir han tvungen att sälja billigt.

    Hur menar du att husägarna förlorar på detta upplägget?

  7. H2,
    I min text skrev jag att det var positivt för husägarna om en halverad månadsåterbetalning kunde rädda deras hem. Min negativa attityd beror naturligtvis på att det är skatterna som ska finansiera vad som herrar som Furland nu tjänar stora pengar på. Samma personer som gjorde allt för att lura på hushållen subprimelån. Därför frågar jag mig varför inte staten självt gör vad Furland gör? Vinsten går rätt in i statskassan i stället för i fickorna på gamarna.

  8. H2,
    Här har du hela artikeln från NYT.

    Ex-Leaders of Countrywide Profit From Bad Loans
    By ERIC LIPTON

    CALABASAS, Calif. — Fairly or not, Countrywide Financial and its top executives would be on most lists of those who share blame for the nation’s economic crisis. After all, the banking behemoth made risky loans to tens of thousands of Americans, helping set off a chain of events that has the economy staggering.

    So it may come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.

    Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.

    “It has been very successful — very strong,” John Lawrence, the company’s head of loan servicing, told Mr. Kurland one recent morning in a glass-walled boardroom here at PennyMac’s spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.

    “In fact, it’s off-the-charts good,” he told Mr. Kurland, who was leaning back comfortably in his leather boardroom chair, even as the financial markets in New York were plunging.

    As hundreds of billions of dollars flow from Washington to jump-start the nation’s staggering banks, automakers and other industries, a new economy is emerging of businesses that hope to make money from the various government programs that make up the largest economic rescue in history.

    They include big investors who are buying up failed banks taken over by the federal government and lobbyists. And there is PennyMac, led by Mr. Kurland, 56, once the soft-spoken No. 2 to Angelo R. Mozilo, the perpetually tanned former chief executive of Countrywide and its public face.

    Mr. Kurland has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from big players like BlackRock, the investment manager, to finance his start-up. Having sold off close to $200 million in stock before leaving Countrywide, he has also put up some of his own cash.

    While some critics are distressed that Mr. Kurland and his team are back in business, the executives say that PennyMac’s operations serve as a model for how the government, working with banks, can help stabilize the housing market and lead the nation out of the recession. “It is very important to the entire team here to be part of a solution,” Mr. Kurland said, standing in his office, which has views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

    It is quite evident that their efforts are, in fact, helping many distressed homeowners.

    “Literally, their assistance saved my family’s home,” said Robert Robinson, of Felton, Pa., whose interest rate was cut by more than half, making his mortgage affordable again.

    But to some, it is disturbing to see former Countrywide executives in the industry again. “It is sort of like the arsonist who sets fire to the house and then buys up the charred remains and resells it,” said Margot Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, which for years has sought to place limits on what it calls abusive lending practices by Countrywide and other companies.

    More than any other major lending institution, Countrywide has become synonymous with the excesses that led to the housing bubble. The firm’s reputation has been so tarnished that Bank of America, which bought it last year at a bargain price, announced that the name and logo of Countrywide, once the biggest mortgage lender in the nation, would soon disappear.

    Mr. Kurland acknowledges pushing Countrywide into the type of higher-risk loans that have since, in large numbers, gone into default. But he said that he always insisted that the loans go only to borrowers who could afford to repay them. He also said that Countrywide’s riskiest lending took place after he left the company, in late 2006, after what he said was an internal conflict with Mr. Mozilo and other executives, whom he blames for loosening loan standards.

    In retrospect, Mr. Kurland said, he regrets what happened at Countrywide and in the mortgage industry nationwide, but does not believe he deserves blame. “It is horrible what transpired in the industry,” said Mr. Kurland, who has never been subject to any regulatory actions.

    But lawsuits against Countrywide raise questions about Mr. Kurland’s portrayal of his role. They accuse him of being at the center of a culture shift at Countrywide that started in 2003, as the company popularized a type of loan that often came with low “teaser” interest rates and that, for some, became unaffordable when the low rate expired.

    The lawsuits, including one filed by New York State’s comptroller, say Mr. Kurland was well aware of the risks, and even misled Countrywide’s investors about the precariousness of the company’s portfolio, which grew to $463 billion in loans, from $62 billion, three times faster than the market nationwide, during the final six years of his tenure.

    “Kurland is seeking to capitalize on a situation that was a product of his own creation,” said Blair A. Nicholas, a lawyer representing retired Arkansas teachers who are also suing Mr. Kurland and other former Countrywide executives. “It is tragic and ironic. But then again, greed is a growth industry.”

    David K. Willingham, a lawyer representing Mr. Kurland in several of these suits, said the allegations related to Mr. Kurland were without merit, and motions had been filed to seek their dismissal.

    Federal banking officials — without mentioning Mr. Kurland by name — added that just because an executive worked at an institution like Countrywide did not mean he was to blame for questionable lending practices. They said that it was important to do business with experienced mortgage operators like Mr. Kurland, who know how to creatively renegotiate delinquent loans.

    PennyMac, whose full legal name is the Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company, also received backing from BlackRock and Highfields Capital, a hedge fund based in Boston. It makes its money by buying loans from struggling or failed financial institutions at such a huge discount that it stands to profit enormously even if it offers to slash interest rates or make other loan modifications to entice borrowers into resuming payments.

    Its biggest deal has been with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which it paid $43.2 million for $560 million worth of mostly delinquent residential loans left over after the failure last year of the First National Bank of Nevada. Many of these loans resemble the kind that Countrywide once offered, with interest rates that can suddenly balloon. PennyMac’s payment was the equivalent of 38 cents on the dollar, according to the full terms of the agreement.

    Under the initial terms of the F.D.I.C. deal, PennyMac is entitled to keep 20 cents on every dollar it can collect, with the government receiving the rest. Eventually that will rise to 40 cents.

    Phone operators for PennyMac — working in shifts — spend 15 hours a day trying to reach borrowers whose loans the company now controls. In dozens of cases, after it has control of loans, it moves to initiate foreclosure proceedings, or to urge the owners to sell the house if they do not respond to calls, are not willing to start paying or cannot afford the house. In many other cases, operators offer drastic cuts in the interest rate or other deals, which PennyMac can afford, given that it paid so little for the loans.

    PennyMac hopes to achieve a profit of at least 20 percent annually, and it is actively courting other investors to build its portfolio, which now consists of $800 million in loans, to as much as $15 billion in the next 18 months, executives said. For the borrowers whose loans have ended up with PennyMac, it can translate into an extraordinary deal.

    The Laverdes, of Porter Ranch, Calif., had fallen three months behind on their mortgage after sales at a furniture store owned by the family dipped in the economic crisis. Margarita Laverde and her husband were fearful that they might need to move their four children, three dogs and giant saltwater aquarium into a cramped apartment, leaving behind their dream home — a five-bedroom ranch on a suburban street overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

    But a PennyMac representative instead offered to cut the interest rate on their $590,000 loan to 3 percent, from 7.25 percent, cutting their monthly payments nearly in half, Ms. Laverde said.

    “I kept on asking, ‘Are you sure this is correct? Are you sure?’ ” Ms. Laverde said. Even with this reduction, PennyMac stands to make a profit of at least 50 percent, a company official said.

    Ms. Laverde could not care less that executives at PennyMac used to work at Countrywide.

    “What matters,” she said, “is that we know our house is secure and our credit is safe.”

  9. Benny, i mycket är vi då helt överens, ursäkta min lite aggresiva ton i början.
    För att ”luras” på ett lån krävs det två, en som luras och en annan som låter sig luras. Jag har själv blivit erbjuden sådana lån, men ekonomiskt är jag mycket försiktig.
    Dessutom är jag lika förvpnad som du över att staten inte behåller dessa lån. Ser dom kanske något som jag inte ser?
    När det nåse en affärsuppgörelse tror ofta båda två att det är en bra affär. Frågan är vilken sida som blir mest lurad i denna.

    PS fortsätt att sträva efter landet utopia, det gillar jag

  10. H2,

    Jag tror att det i huvudsak är ideologiska skäl som ligger bakom varför Obama vinglar i förhållandet till bankerna. I USA luktar det ”socialism” bara man tar ordet förstatligande i munnen. I dagens krönika av Paul Krugman finns en nykter analys av Obamas och Geithners hållning.

    The Big Dither
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    Last month, in his big speech to Congress, President Obama argued for bold steps to fix America’s dysfunctional banks. “While the cost of action will be great,” he declared, “I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.”

    Many analysts agree. But among people I talk to there’s a growing sense of frustration, even panic, over Mr. Obama’s failure to match his words with deeds. The reality is that when it comes to dealing with the banks, the Obama administration is dithering. Policy is stuck in a holding pattern.

    Here’s how the pattern works: first, administration officials, usually speaking off the record, float a plan for rescuing the banks in the press. This trial balloon is quickly shot down by informed commentators.

    Then, a few weeks later, the administration floats a new plan. This plan is, however, just a thinly disguised version of the previous plan, a fact quickly realized by all concerned. And the cycle starts again.

    Why do officials keep offering plans that nobody else finds credible? Because somehow, top officials in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve have convinced themselves that troubled assets, often referred to these days as “toxic waste,” are really worth much more than anyone is actually willing to pay for them — and that if these assets were properly priced, all our troubles would go away.

    Thus, in a recent interview Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, tried to make a distinction between the “basic inherent economic value” of troubled assets and the “artificially depressed value” that those assets command right now. In recent transactions, even AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities have sold for less than 40 cents on the dollar, but Mr. Geithner seems to think they’re worth much, much more.

    And the government’s job, he declared, is to “provide the financing to help get those markets working,” pushing the price of toxic waste up to where it ought to be.

    What’s more, officials seem to believe that getting toxic waste properly priced would cure the ills of all our major financial institutions. Earlier this week, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, was asked about the problem of “zombies” — financial institutions that are effectively bankrupt but are being kept alive by government aid. “I don’t know of any large zombie institutions in the U.S. financial system,” he declared, and went on to specifically deny that A.I.G. — A.I.G.! — is a zombie.

    This is the same A.I.G. that, unable to honor its promises to pay off other financial institutions when bonds default, has already received $150 billion in aid and just got a commitment for $30 billion more.

    The truth is that the Bernanke-Geithner plan — the plan the administration keeps floating, in slightly different versions — isn’t going to fly.

    Take the plan’s latest incarnation: a proposal to make low-interest loans to private investors willing to buy up troubled assets. This would certainly drive up the price of toxic waste because it would offer a heads-you-win, tails-we-lose proposition. As described, the plan would let investors profit if asset prices went up but just walk away if prices fell substantially.

    But would it be enough to make the banking system healthy? No.

    Think of it this way: by using taxpayer funds to subsidize the prices of toxic waste, the administration would shower benefits on everyone who made the mistake of buying the stuff. Some of those benefits would trickle down to where they’re needed, shoring up the balance sheets of key financial institutions. But most of the benefit would go to people who don’t need or deserve to be rescued.

    And this means that the government would have to lay out trillions of dollars to bring the financial system back to health, which would, in turn, both ensure a fierce public outcry and add to already serious concerns about the deficit. (Yes, even strong advocates of fiscal stimulus like yours truly worry about red ink.) Realistically, it’s just not going to happen.

    So why has this zombie idea — it keeps being killed, but it keeps coming back — taken such a powerful grip? The answer, I fear, is that officials still aren’t willing to face the facts. They don’t want to face up to the dire state of major financial institutions because it’s very hard to rescue an essentially insolvent bank without, at least temporarily, taking it over. And temporary nationalization is still, apparently, considered unthinkable.

    But this refusal to face the facts means, in practice, an absence of action. And I share the president’s fears: inaction could result in an economy that sputters along, not for months or years, but for a decade or more.

  11. Pingback:   Är depressionen på väg? — Mullvaden

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