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The Risk Of Relying On Reputational Capital: A Case Study Of The 2007 Failure Of New Century Financial

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Executive Summary

The quality of newly originated subprime mortgages had been visibly deteriorating for some time before the window for such loans was shut in 2007. Nevertheless, a bankruptcy court's directed ex post examination of New Century Financial, one of the largest originators of subprime mortgages, discovered no change, over time, in how that firm went about its business. This paper employs the court examiner's findings in a critical review of the procedures used by various agents involved in the origination and securitization of subprime mortgages. A contribution of this paper is its elaboration of the choices and incentives faced by the various types of institutions involved in those linked processes of origination and securitization.

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