I quickly learned how fishy this world could be. A client I knew who specialized in auto loans invited me up to his desk to show me how to structure subprime debt. Eager to please, I promised I could enhance my software to model his deals in less than a month. But when I glanced at the takeout in the deal, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Normally, in a prime-mortgage deal, an investment bank makes only a tiny margin. But this deal had two whole percentage points of juice! Looking at the underlying loans, I was shocked.From Michael Osinki, who wrote some of the software that helped create the ugly financial instruments that have sunk the economy. He even makes my point that an "intelligent, articulate, pleasant fellow" can nonetheless have the ethics of a louse.
"Who’s paying 16 percent for a car loan?" I asked. The current loan rate was then around 8 percent.
"Oh, people who have defaulted on loans in the past. That’s why they’re called subprime," he informed me. I had known this guy off and on for years. He was an intelligent, articulate, pleasant fellow. He and his wife came to my house for dinner. He had the comfortable manner of someone who had been to good schools—he was not one of the "dudes" trying to jam bonds into a Palm Beach widow’s account. (Those guys were also my clients.)
"But if they defaulted on loans at 8, how can they ever pay back a loan at 16 percent?" I asked.
"It doesn’t matter," he confided. "As long as they pay for a while. With all that excess spread, we can make a ton. If they pay for three years, they will cure their credit and re-fi at a lower rate."
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Testosterone and Trading Software