We can extend the conversation of uncertainty to mortgage-bond investors, particularly those in the private market. Public officials and private pundits alike have commented on the need for private money – which is virtually nonexistent – to return to the mortgage market. Private money matters, because it means a more diverse, more inclusive mortgage-lending market.

A recent New York Times article points out that there have been few private mortgage-bond deals in recent years. The reason is the banks that sell mortgage-backed bonds are waiting for regulators to finish drawing up rules aimed at strengthening the market.

The hold-up centers on loan down payments. Private lenders want more leeway on down payments, so private bonds can be issued on mortgages with lower down payment requirements. Regulators have balked at the request in the past, but today it appears they are more willing to compromise. Regulators are being pressured by lenders and consumer advocates. Both sides have cautioned against stringent down-payment requirements, arguing that restrictions would limit lending.

The regulators are listening, and that’s good news, because if they listen and act on what they hear, we could see lending extended to potential borrowers who are champing at the bit to get in the market and buy a home.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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