By Gonzalo Lira :
“Homeowners can only be foreclosed and evicted from their homes by the person or institution who actually has the loan paper—only the note-holder has legal standing to ask a court to foreclose and evict. Not the mortgage, the note, which is the actual IOU that people sign, promising to pay back the mortgage loan
“Before mortgage-backed securities, most mortgage loans were issued by the local savings & loan. So the note usually didn’t go anywhere: it stayed in the offices of the S&L down the street.
“But once mortgage loan securitization happened, things got sloppy—they got sloppy by very nature of mortgage-backed securities.
“The whole purpose of MBSs was for different investors to have their different risk appetites satiated with different bonds. Some bond customers wanted super-safe bonds with low returns, some others wanted riskier bonds with correspondingly higher rates of return.
“Therefore, as everyone knows, the loans were ‘bundled’ into REMICs (Real-Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits, a special vehicle designed to hold the loans for tax purposes), and then “sliced & diced”—split up and put into tranches, according to their likelihood of default, their interest rates, and other characteristics.
“This slicing and dicing created ‘senior tranches,’ where the loans would likely be paid in full, if the past history of mortgage loan statistics was to be believed. And it also created‘junior tranches,’ where the loans might well default, again according to past history and statistics. (A whole range of tranches was created, of course, but for the purposes of this discussion we can ignore all those countless other variations.) (more…)