Monday, July 1, 2013

some history of mortgage-covered bonds

Kirsten Wandschneider describes the history of mortgage-covered bonds by looking at "Landschaften", public non-profit institutions that issued covered bonds and formalized the mortgage market in Prussia. These bonds still serve as a template for todays financial intermediaries.

What is particularly striking is the success of these bonds as the market was dominated by borrowers who were a poor credit risk, aka "lemons", hence the title of the paper "Lending to Lemons". The landed gentry after the Seven Years War and the credit crisis of 1763 was heavily indebted and to overcome adverse selection, the risk of lending was spread over a larger area, the "Landschaften", automatically including all noble estates.

The historical example highlights successful financial innovation but also shows, which institutional features made covered bonds successful to this day.

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