This is very small niche market of the lending industry.
The firms say this is far from the subprime lending of the go-go years. While they may embrace slightly riskier borrowers, they require higher down payments, around 40% on average at Athas Capital, compared with roughly 10% for a bank loan, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH Associates. And while they are willing to be flexible with income documentation, accepting a workplace pay stub or a series of bank statements in lieu of tax-return documents, they still require documentation as proof a borrower can repay the loan. This opens the door to otherwise qualified borrowers who have been foreclosed on, for example, or who may be self-employed or recently unemployed but are now back to work, says Chip Cummings, president of Northwind Financial, a consultant to mortgage.
I can't think of too many people that have a 40% down payment of the ready. Now, here real kicker.
Critics say the loans are similar enough to the subprime mortgages of old that would-be borrowers should beware. They often have a so-called balloon structure, which requires the borrower to pay the remaining balance after five or seven years, or to refinance. And they are expensive, with interest rates of as much as 13%, the loans can cost more than double the average for bank mortgages. "You'd have to be fairly desperate to take that in the current market," says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.
To be an investor in this mortgage pool. And just as a reminder
Also, starting in October, the government is expected to lower the limit on the loans it guarantees to as low as $271,050 in some places, in some cases a drop of almost $100,000. That, too, could open the door for these private financing companies.
"There are a lot of borrowers out there who aren't being provided for," Mr. Cummings says. "Private investment firms are filling the gap."Read it all