Banks Commence Wholesale, Unsolicited Mortgage-Debt Forgiveness
by Tyler Durden
It was just a matter of time before wholesale debt-forgiveness became the primary source of wealth in the US. The time is now. The NYT reports that “big banks are going to borrowers who are not even in default and cutting their debt or easing the mortgage terms, sometimes with no questions asked. Two of the nation’s biggest lenders, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, are quietly modifying loans for tens of thousands of borrowers who have not asked for help but whom the banks deem to be at special risk.” To be deemed in “special risk” one needs to simply have an Option ARM mortgage, and be underwater, even if still current on mortgage payments. End result: an up to 50% cut in the actual mortgage obligation. To wit: “Ms. Giosmas, who lives in Miami, was not in default on her $300,000 loan. She did not understand why she would receive this gift — although she wasted no time in taking it. Before Chase shaved $150,000 off her mortgage, Ms. Giosmas owed much more on her place than it was worth. It was a fate she shared with a quarter of all homeowners with mortgages across the nation. Being underwater, as it is called, can prevent these owners from moving and taking new jobs, and places the households at greater risk of foreclosure.” Whether this is a strategic step by the banks who wish to avoid tens if not hundreds of billions in fraudclosure and putback related legal costs, charges and reserves is for now unclear, although all signs point to yes. Next up: everyone in America stops paying their mortgage, or demands a 50% haircut on existing debt, now that the example has been made. And in the meantime, banks will somehow continue to keep the mortgages, which they have now cut by up to half, at par on their books following some brand new, thoroughly senseless announcement by the FASB which says banks can mark anything to whatever price they chose in perpetuity. Because otherwise, the TBTF lenders will suddenly find themselves in a massive deficiency on their Tier 1 capital, also known as completely insolvent.