Sunday, January 24, 2010


A few posts back I discussed Legacy Assets. In a few words, legacy assets are poorly performing, or non-performing contracts. More simply stated, they're toxic crap. Rather than watch these toxic legacy assets drag the mortgage market down the federal government created a series of loan programs designed to get market players reinvolved in the mortgage market. One of those programs is TALF.

TALF is the acronym for Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility.

This loan program allows market players to use toxic assets - what the financial industry has ingeniously gotten everyone to call legacy assets - as collateral (check out the Federal Reserve's mind-numbing explanation of the program here). Using toxic (legacy) assets as collateral is just one of the ways the federal government determined it could support the market because (1) it allows market players to use the loans to get cash into the mortgage market, and (2) it provides a guarantee that if the loan is not repaid the federal government American taxpayer will take the hit.

Either way, it is a market subsidy. First, to the loan originators (mortgage brokers and banks) who made the dumb decisions that inflated our market (and it gets them off the hook legally). It also subsidizes the mortgage/housing market, which is still reeling from the 2008 bubble and market collapse.

I provide this background because it appears that we've been making billions in TALF loans over the past year, as you can see here, here, and here. Here's a list of the banks market players work with on these legacy asset loans (interestingly, they're the same guys who got us in this mess; e.g. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, etc.).

So you know, if your "legacy asset" (your home) is under water you're not eligible for these type of loans. Only the institutional market players are.

- Mark

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