The Subprime Debacle: Act 2, Part 2
Hundreds of billions of dollars of this junk was sold to European banks and funds. And these guys get together at conferences. So Helmut will be talking to Lars who will talk to Jean Pierre and they will realize they all own some of this junk. They will be watching with very real interest to see how the big boys at PIMCO and Black Rock and the New York Fed fare in their efforts. And then you can count on them all piling on…
They Knew What They Were Selling
Let’s begin with testimony from Mr. Richard Bowen, former senior vice-president and business chief underwriter with CitiMortgage Inc. This was given to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Hearing on Subprime Lending andnd Securitization andnd Government Sponsored Enterprises. I am going to excerpt from his testimony, but you can read the whole thing (if you have a strong stomach) at http://fcic.gov/hearings/pdfs/2010-0407-Bowen.pdf.
“The delegated flow channel purchased approximately $50 billion of prime mortgages annually. These mortgages were not underwriten by us before they were purchased. My Quality Assurance area was responsible for underwriting a small sample of the files post-purchase to ensure credit quality was maintained.
“These mortgages were sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other investors . Although we did not underwrite these mortgages, Citi did rep and warrant to the investors that the mortgages were underwritten to Citi credit guidelines.
“In mid-2006 I discovered that over 60% of these mortgages purchased and sold were defective. Because Citi had given reps and warrants to the investors that the mortgages were not defective, the investors could force Citi to repurchase many billions of dollars of these defective assets. This situation represented a large potential risk to the shareholders of Citigroup.
“I started issuing warnings in June of 2006 and attempted to get management to address these critical risk issues. These warnings continued through 2007 and went to all levels of the Consumer Lending Group.
“On November 3, 2007, I sent an email to Mr. Robert Rubin and three other members of Corporate Management… In this email I outlined the business practices that I had witnessed and attempted to address. I specifically warned about the extreme risks that existed within the Consumer Lending Group. And I warned that there were ‘resulting significant but possibly unrecognized financial losses existing within Citigroup.'”