Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: Modifications Best on Resets: C-Bass

Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: Modifications Best on Resets: C-Bass

Article excerpt

Loan modifications may be an imperfect tool for curing defaults, but C-Bass LLC expects it to become more effective as it is applied to borrowers strained by the coming wave of interest rate resets.

John Draghi, the chief operating officer of the New York specialist in risky mortgages, said Wednesday that its Litton Loan Servicing LP subsidiary "currently modifies about 2% of their deals," and he added, "It's hard to speculate how big that number can get."

Historically, the share of Litton-modified loans that goes back into default has been close to one-third, or about the industry average, Mr. Draghi said, speaking at the American Securitization Forum annual meeting.

But with resets, he said, "we are actually optimistic that we may cut those redefault rates because you're dealing with borrowers that have paid for two years already. So they've demonstrated a willingness and ability to pay. It's really the new rate they're having the issue with."

"Many of the modifications that we're working on, certainly in the 2006 book, where there were loans that went down really quickly, there's certainly a lot more reason to believe those were challenging borrowers," he said.

Modifications have been an essential strategy for Litton, which is based in Houston, though an arduous one.

"It is a loan-by-loan process. There has been nothing you've seen thus far that can be called a sweeping approach," he said. "Our approach has essentially been to reunderwrite the loans."

"We do a lot more aggressive loan modifications in our whole loan book than we currently do in the securitization market, and that's essentially due to" tax and accounting issues, he said. …

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