Wells Fargo's John Stumpf: How to fix the mortgage mess

Wells Fargo's John Stumpf: How to fix the mortgage mess


First, all parties involved in making and investing in mortgage loans need to share a financial interest in the quality of those loans. That includes the customer taking out the loan, the financial institution or broker originating the loan, and the investor who ultimately owns the loan. All parties need to have skin in the game. If originators don't have a financial interest in the loan, they will have less concern for its quality, and poor lending decisions will happen and be passed along to investors. That creates a house of cards.

A healthy debate is already taking place about how much a homeowner should put down and how much a bank should keep on its balance sheet when it bundles and sells mortgage loans. There is no magic number out there, but I can tell you one thing: The more the risks and rewards of a mortgage loan are shared by all parties -- and the better those risks and rewards are understood -- the better the quality of the loan will be.

Will this mean higher down payments for homeowners and more financial skin in the game for banks? Probably so, but the long-term costs for homeowners, bankers, and the economy will be dramatically lower. Just look at what past mortgage lending practices have cost all of us.

Comment: Good article from Fortune Magazine

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