This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why Mortgages Blew Up

Many homebuyers in recent years took out exotic mortgages that ultimately backfired. This raises the question of why such booby-trapped financing was available at all.

The answer, in part, stems from overaggressive marketing of what were once niche products intended only for the most financially sophisticated and creditworthy customers. During the housing boom in recent years, banks began offering such elaborate loans to huge numbers of average homebuyers, allowing them to get in over their heads and contributing to the current mortgage crisis, as many borrowers ended up defaulting.

Last week, reported that several of nation's largest lenders, such as Countrywide Financial (CFC), were still offering the types of loans at the center of the current meltdown in the subprime mortgage market. That's despite the fact that the company has taken a beating on the stock price, down about 40% over the past month, and some of the loans offered seem doomed to fail from the outset.

The most exotic product, the option ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage), or negative amortization loan, allows the borrower the choice of paying a minimum amount that might not even cover the interest on the loan.

If that alternative is taken, the shortfall is added to the loan balance, and so the borrower gets further and further into debt over time. Such loans are inherently risky for the debtor and the lender as well. Another risky type of loan is the interest-only mortgage. The balance on an interest-only loan doesn't increase over time, but it doesn't decrease either. The borrower is essentially just treading water.

1 of 5

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,584.33 +227.46 1.31%
S&P 500 2,043.49 +30.60 1.52%
NASDAQ 4,716.9290 +72.6170 1.56%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs