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Spanish Mortgage Finance Crisis Case Study University of Pennsylvania / Wharton School Philadelphia/Berlin, June 4, 2013 Hans-Joachim Dübel,

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Presentation on theme: "Spanish Mortgage Finance Crisis Case Study University of Pennsylvania / Wharton School Philadelphia/Berlin, June 4, 2013 Hans-Joachim Dübel,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Spanish Mortgage Finance Crisis Case Study University of Pennsylvania / Wharton School Philadelphia/Berlin, June 4, 2013 Hans-Joachim Dübel, Berlin

2 2 Excess Liquidity Housing Credit Inflation – Spanish Housing Loan Debt Tripled Rel. to GDP Source: ECRI Database Housing Loan Outstanding to GDP Spain was an emerging mortgage market by the early 1990s. Debt creation dynamics mid- 90s to 2007 and house price boom only second to Ireland.

3 3 Excess Liquidity Much of the Liquidity was Foreign Housing Loans and Current Account Deficit (% of GDP) Source: IMF, Finpolconsult. 2000 - 2010 Causality goes both ways  Capital exporting investors seek high-volume assets (LatAm sovereign, commercial RE). Housing is just the latest such asset class, deemed ‘safe’ & easy to originate, trade.  The target economies (U.S., Spain) overdevelop both housing and the financial sector and seek more capital imports (through deep securities markets) to keep the credit boom going.

4 4 Channels of Liquidity Creation Both MBS and Covered Bonds Contributed to the Credit Boom Source: Finpolconsult, central banks., SIFMA European commercial banks did not materially act differently from U.S. GSE/Finco/Bank mix. Main carrier of credit boom in both cases were high volume debt securities sold esp. to foreign investors. This required large, centralized bond issuers – US Fannie/Freddie, Inv Bks; Germany: Depfa, Eurohypo; Spain: ‘Ahorro Y Titulizacion’. Spain 2003 – 2010 (bank-based system) United States 2004 – 2010 (capital mkts & insurance-based system)

5 5 Channels of Liquidity Creation Role of Covered Bonds Source: Finpolconsult, based on Paul/University of Bochum Liabiity Structure of Cajas 1962-2009 By 2000, the Mediterranean and Madrid region cajas had already depleted their deposit base. Solution: Ahorry Y Titulizacion Spain was the European Record Issuer 2003-07

6 6 Setup Ahorro y Titulizacion (Spain, Madrid); joint issuer of Spanish savings banks (Cajas), Cedulas TDA, F.T.A. is a special purpose fund under Spanish law with limited liability, Sole purpose of the Fund to acquire Cedulas Hypotecarias from savings banks as collateral for the issuance of joint Cedulas. Performance AyT jumpstarted the Spanish covered bond market, helping Spain to become the largest European covered bond issuer 2004-6. Spanish covered bond issuance extended mortgage boom beyond deposit base, Cajas extended their leverage, Key problem: AyT did not underwrite Cajas, these were entitled to issue through the entity, Cajas were supposed to provide cash collateral when prices dropped, but eventually were unable to do so, New issuance stopped with crisis. Sources: Caja Madrid, Merrill Lynch Channels of Liquidity Creation Covered Bond Conduit Ahorro y Titulizacion of Spanish Cajas

7 7 Channels of Liquidity Creation Weak Covered Bond Law Covered bond law ‘on the cheap’ Compensated for by large levels of overcollateralization. Overcollateralization means a subsidy by the deposit insurer to the covered bond investor, Implies that banks cannot be put into insolvency (Indy Mac problem). Structural weaknesses: Assets are not ring-fenced, no due diligence, No constraints on issuers (overleaf), Law design forces investors to claim seniority during bank insolvency, Considerable market risk (typically 5 yr bonds swapped from fixed to float), high OC does not guarantee roll-over by private investor. Law says nothing on ALM. Large credit risk arising from weak appraisal rules, collateral risks (often no title), lending to corporates (developers), lending for unfinished construction and vacant land. CRA and regulator remained passive. Covered Bond Overcollateralization (OC) Levels Source: Fitch Ratings Overcollateralization in Spanish Cedulas

8 8 Not Only Credit Volume, But Also Duration Matters Product Pricing as a Determinant of the FRM-ARM Ratio Source: Finpolconsult. Germany Spain Spain 1994 law change -permitted ARMs -Made linking to indices mandatory -5 different indices offered, but soon Euribor became dominant index. Initial consumer protection bias against FRM. Capital supply is measured in duration – expected amount of time that capital is left to the borrower without repricing. ARMs have low durations. Low durations mean that effective capital supply is multiplied. Before 1994, most Spanish lending was fixed-rate (before 1982 reforms, special circuit).

9 9 Risk Impact Asset Price Inflation

10 10 Risk Impact Realized House Price Inflation is Causal for Poor Underwriting Source: Federal Reserve, Bank of Spain, Finpolconsult. Many issues on the agenda of regulators (e.g. Financial Stability Board) are the result of price risk: -Cyclical increase in loan-to-value ratios (as opposed to structural) ; constant LTV rule? -Extension of loan maturities and negative amortization features – Spain from 20 to 30, 50 years -Higher frequency of interest-only periods and initial teaser rates -Lower spreads for both prime and non-prime lending -Low-documentation lending United States, 2002 - 2010 Spain, 2002 - 2010

11 11 Housing Policy Exacerbating Spanish Mortgage Market Risks Public subsidy budgets and social housing construction in selected European countries, ca 2005 Rental sector share and incidence of mortgage lending to vulnerable households, ca. 2005 Source: European Housing Ministers, Finpolconsult for EBRD Transition Report. High-leverage mortgage markets can remain stable, if debt is targeted to the middle class (Denmark). Spain: Legacy of rent controls led to de-facto discrimination in a large multi-family building stock. Privatization of social housing during the 2000s into the house price boom, zero new investment as private market was booming. Met a wave of 5 million immigrants (Romania, Morrocco, Colombia, Ecuador).  Spanish Subprime made ‘affordable’ through Euribor Result: leverage targeted to vulnerable households.

12 12 Risk Impact High Debt Volumes and High Vulnerability to Interest Rate Shock Source: European Credit Research Institute/CEPS; Finpolconsult. Household Debt to GDP Ratio 2011, Regional Share of Housing Loans with Interest Rate Fixing Period < 5 years

13 13 Mortgage default rates, 2001 – 2009 Interest rates on outstanding loans in the dominant national mortgage portfolios in four European countries, 2003 – 2010 U.S. median interest rate 2010 ca 5.75%. The Collapse The initial Spanish reaction: ‘crisis, what crisis?’

14 14 Spanish House Prices Collapsed in Slow Motion.. For sources, see Report text. The Collapse The Reality: This Attitude Made the Crisis Far Worse, for Spain..Permitting (Foreign) Investors to Pull their Money Out – Case Banco de Valencia Banco de Valencia had to be rescued by the Span gov with 4.5 billion EUR (investment is entirely lost) Total fiscal loss estimate so far > EUR 50bln, total public exposure is EUR 400 bln (ECB plus Spanish gov) >20% of the loss has to be paid by small savers that invested in subordinated debt and hybrid capital sold in 2009 (permitting another extension of the crisis..). Foreign investors in senior unsecured and covered bonds were left off the hook.

15 15 We are told an intact ECB bailout story by Spain: In June 2012 officially only 3.2% of owner- occupied mortgage loans were in default, Current LTVs were reported at only at 55- 65% (Oliver Wyman). True LTVs are likely higher due to mis- appraisals with negative equity inviting future option-theoretic default. Also, the performing Spanish portfolio is as bad a loss- maker as the Irish, just on a larger scale: New lending rates reflecting cost are 200bp above historic lending rates, Without ECB subsidies the mortgage portfolio would be loss-making in its entirety. The Collapse The Reality: The Portfolio Is Kept Afloat by the ECB Banco de Valencia Funding Structure Source: Banco de Valencia, Finpolconsult computations. Portfolio Profitability, ECB Bailout (Irish case)

16 16 Private Investor Market Collapse Downgrades: Double hit real estate and (correlated) local governments, Only 2/48 Cedulas retain AAA, 9/48 rated BBB, all trade like junk! Multi-seller Cedulas were hit by Caja crisis, major incentive problems with individual issuers, Jumbo market closed between June 2011 and September 2012, Outside a few private banks, no pricing advantage of covered bonds over senior unsecured (chart), Massive O/C (currently 100% and higher) and LTRO have sucked out all the good collateral in the banking system. Ironically, Spanish banks issue more covered bonds than ever.. right into the ECB balance sheet. The Collapse Severe Impact on Covered Bonds Market Reversion of Pricing of Bank Funding Instruments in Spain

17 17 The Collapse Huge Bank Solvency Risk arising from Index Tracker Lending Euribor minus Long-term Deposit Rates Source: Bank of Spain, Onvista,, Finpolconsult computations. Clearest sign of comm bank-dominance: use of interbank indices Index-tracker ARM have destroyed lender solvency across Europe Basis risk even in good times: e.g. 1 year Euribor rates funded by 3 month Euribor swaps, covered bonds (swapped from fixed into 3 month Euribor) and deposits (reviewable rates). With the crisis (rise in deposit rates, collapse of swap and bond market), the performing index tracker portfolio in Spain became a large a loss maker. Huge (spread) duration as few borrowers prepay loss-making loans. Major loss-maker also in the UK (no new lending) Pricing of Euribor based Covered Bond issued by Spanish Cajas

18 18 Proportion of Foreclosed Mortgages Source: BBVA. The Collapse Foreclosure Records, Slowly Improving Consumer Protection Inadequate consumer protection/ foreclosure law framework No consumer insolvency law: there is risk of high residual debt remaining with households. No debt discharge rule similar to other, typically catholic, European countries. Contrast to corporates (developers!!) Typically means government intervention ex- post: Hungary foreclosure volume limits Ireland de-facto complete moratorium. Spain is an exception: Government is a large owner of regional banks/ex-Cajas with biggest problems. The first foreclosed and evicted households were migrants who enjoyed less political protection. ‘Solutions’: Debt redemption through short sales, but only if the bank agrees. Conversion of repossessed stock into social housing. Resistance to foreclosure is strongly rising as unemployment affects even the prime portfolio -First eviction moratoria e.g. for families with young children. Defaults are likely to worsen as borrowers realize that the negative equity situation cannot be cured. Solution: not low rates, but debt forgiveness. -Partial DF programs are being implemented.

19 19 Regulation Summary Ideal: Reduction of System Vulnerability to Global Liquidity Shocks Increase in Leverage and Mismatch of Housing Finance Systems to be Unwound 1. Vulnerability of systems featuring high borrower leverage, mismatch, dubious valuations, small rental sector to a given liquidity shock is maximal. 2. Such risk layering increases the impact of a given liquidity shock on prices, credit growth (pass-through). 3. Liquidity shocks themselves are maximized by financial innovation, autonomous (portfolio) capital flows, aggressive cross-border entry. Interaction between flows and innovation central. 4. Once house price and credit inflation is produced, this dominates all other commonly cited credit risk factors.. Source: Finpolconsult. Implication: ‘Volcker Rules’ for the mortgage markets Discourage leveraged interest rate risk speculation by borrowers with their most important financial asset, equity in housing Discourage (leveraged) interest risk speculation by mortgage lenders and force interest rate risk to be taken by institutions.

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