Building Financial Systems for the Poor Meditations on the US Sub-Prime Crisis: Implications for International Microfinanc...
Recent Headlines <ul><li>Dangerous Animals in the Banking Zoo </li></ul><ul><li>Banks Fear a New Round of Write-Downs  </l...
A few statistics . . . <ul><li>7.7 mill. sub-prime loans outstanding as of Sept. </li></ul><ul><li>2 million home-owners a...
What in the world does sub-prime have to do with microfinance? <ul><li>Sub-prime home loans vs. typical micro-loans </li><...
Observation #1 – Unsustainable products and practices <ul><li>Products inferior vs. prime – resets, piggybacks, and so on ...
Implications for MF – The products  <ul><li>Currently, MF products mostly simple, held in portfolio, little evidence of wi...
Implications for MF – The products (2) <ul><li>We need to watch out: </li></ul><ul><li>Getting carried away with product i...
Observation #2 – Buyer bias, wishful thinking <ul><li>Not all sub-prime buyers, now in trouble, are “sympathetic” </li></u...
Implications for MF – the buyer side <ul><li>Pay attention to the new research from the consumer/behavioral scientists </l...
Observation #3 – shaky processes, skewed incentives, and moral hazard <ul><li>Credit analysis: over-reliance on credit sco...
Implications for MF – credit analysis, partners and the players in the chain <ul><li>Stay vigilant about portfolio quality...
Observation #4 – Investors in the “slice-&-dice” finance world <ul><li>Global liquidity and investor appetite for higher-r...
Implications for MF – The climate for investment  <ul><li>Will investors will do more careful due diligence and have a low...
Observation #5 – Regulators in the hot seat <ul><li>Role for market conduct regulation and even criminal prosecution – whi...
Implications for MF – Regulation  <ul><li>The political, policy regulatory responses in the US and Europe are likely to in...
South Africa National Credit Act  <ul><li>Features of 2005 Act include: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of cross-industry marke...
South Africa National Credit Act -- impact <ul><li>Huge credit surge just before NCA came into effect, followed by (short-...
Will the Act have unintended consequences? <ul><li>How will consumers cope with restricted credit access in the face of in...
Some closing thoughts  <ul><li>Recent developments in the MF industry are exciting – but we need to put growth, innovation...
Who benefits? Who pays?
Thanks! Kate McKee, kmckee@worldbank.org Senior Policy Advisor CGAP Washington DC
Building Financial Systems for the Poor Thank you!
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The Subprime Crisis & Implications for Microfinance (SVMN, 05/18/08)

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Presentation on the US Subprime Crisis & Impact / Implications on Microfinance, by Katherine McKee, CGAP, to the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN.net).

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The Subprime Crisis & Implications for Microfinance (SVMN, 05/18/08)

  1. Building Financial Systems for the Poor Meditations on the US Sub-Prime Crisis: Implications for International Microfinance Silicon Valley Microfinance Network May 19, 2008 Kate McKee
  2. Recent Headlines <ul><li>Dangerous Animals in the Banking Zoo </li></ul><ul><li>Banks Fear a New Round of Write-Downs </li></ul><ul><li>Fears about Economy Increase: Debt Crisis Grows; Top Mortgage Firm Sold at a Bargain </li></ul><ul><li>Dubai Buys Stake in Citi; China Buys Stake in Morgan Stanley </li></ul><ul><li>Ripples of Crisis in US Housing Reach Worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>Europe’s Central Banks Inject More Funds </li></ul><ul><li>Britain to Nationalize Northern Rock Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Fitch to reconsider CDO Grades </li></ul><ul><li>Fed Comes to Rescue as Wall Street Giant Slips </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation to the Rescue </li></ul><ul><li>Congress Debates Mortgage Aid Plan </li></ul>
  3. A few statistics . . . <ul><li>7.7 mill. sub-prime loans outstanding as of Sept. </li></ul><ul><li>2 million home-owners at risk of foreclosure </li></ul><ul><li>By the summer of 2010, 600,000 people expected to lose homes when loans reset </li></ul><ul><li>US residential mortgage market is valued at around $12 trillion – many expect further 20% decline </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 8.8 mill. homes (10.3% of total) worth less than their owners owe – “upside down” </li></ul><ul><li>Est. sub-prime losses for banks up to $200-400 bill. </li></ul>
  4. What in the world does sub-prime have to do with microfinance? <ul><li>Sub-prime home loans vs. typical micro-loans </li></ul><ul><li>Completely different . . . </li></ul><ul><li>- clients </li></ul><ul><li>- product features </li></ul><ul><li>- business practices (marketing, originations, collections, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Players </li></ul><ul><li>And yet . . . </li></ul>
  5. Observation #1 – Unsustainable products and practices <ul><li>Products inferior vs. prime – resets, piggybacks, and so on (although not all sub-prime loans are “predatory”) </li></ul><ul><li>Too often, little attention paid to repayment ability </li></ul><ul><li>Complex, confusing, sometimes deceptive </li></ul><ul><li>Targeting and steering </li></ul><ul><li>[significance of de-linking credit analysis/origination and risk – more to come in a few slides] </li></ul><ul><li>Competition does not always result in more and better product options . . . </li></ul>
  6. Implications for MF – The products <ul><li>Currently, MF products mostly simple, held in portfolio, little evidence of widespread delinquency and over-indebtedness problems </li></ul><ul><li>But lots of emphasis among traditional players on product innovation, growth, market share </li></ul><ul><li>And aggressive new players, products, practices (e.g., South Africa, Mexico, E. Europe, India) </li></ul><ul><li>In some markets, the “value chain” of finance is developing with new roles and partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>How does/will investor demand shape our products? </li></ul>
  7. Implications for MF – The products (2) <ul><li>We need to watch out: </li></ul><ul><li>Getting carried away with product innovation and “financial engineering” for its own sake </li></ul><ul><li>Client debt levels – ability to collect vs. ability to pay </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts of consumer lenders and lending </li></ul>
  8. Observation #2 – Buyer bias, wishful thinking <ul><li>Not all sub-prime buyers, now in trouble, are “sympathetic” </li></ul><ul><li>But the melt-down has caught many well-intended families of modest means, pursuing the American dream of home-ownership </li></ul><ul><li>New research shows how systematic attitudes, decision-making patterns and biases influence credit behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Those designing and marketing products are a lot more aware of this research than the buyers! </li></ul><ul><li>The complexity of the products and the home purchase process compound these information asymmetries </li></ul>
  9. Implications for MF – the buyer side <ul><li>Pay attention to the new research from the consumer/behavioral scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Use the insights to </li></ul><ul><li>design products that work for clients as well as providers – reasonable and sustainable value proposition </li></ul><ul><li>develop appropriate marketing messages and communication strategies </li></ul><ul><li>disclose pricing, terms and conditions transparently </li></ul>
  10. Observation #3 – shaky processes, skewed incentives, and moral hazard <ul><li>Credit analysis: over-reliance on credit scores (vs. affordability analysis, income verification, down payment, mortgage insurance, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Mortgage brokers: their roles (marketing, not risk assessment) and compensation arrangements -- not on the hook for repayment </li></ul><ul><li>Lenders: role of non-bank mortgage lenders + prevalence of selling off loans (reduces attention to risk) </li></ul><ul><li>Others in the finance “value chain,” e. g., appraisers, raters – over-enthusiasm, corner-cutting and fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone’s assumption that housing prices (and borrower’s income?) would only rise – refi as exit </li></ul>
  11. Implications for MF – credit analysis, partners and the players in the chain <ul><li>Stay vigilant about portfolio quality while innovating loan products and credit analysis processes to “bank the unbanked’ </li></ul><ul><li>Use of credit scores and other more efficient underwriting techniques is important to expanding access – but test them carefully to be sure they work </li></ul><ul><li>Take care with outsourcing and partnerships – especially to create incentives for high portfolio quality and customer service </li></ul><ul><li>MF managers/boards (and investors) need to pay more attention to managing a wider range of risks </li></ul>
  12. Observation #4 – Investors in the “slice-&-dice” finance world <ul><li>Global liquidity and investor appetite for higher-return product drove financial innovation (e.g., risk-based pricing) and creation of exotic investment instruments </li></ul><ul><li>So complex that no player seems to have really understood the risks – over-reliance on ratings, credit enhancement – and inadequate due diligence and oversight by fund managers, board, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The borrowers weren’t the only ones relying on wishful thinking! </li></ul><ul><li>Complex structures and ownership complicate “unwinding” the securities now that the crisis has hit </li></ul>
  13. Implications for MF – The climate for investment <ul><li>Will investors will do more careful due diligence and have a lower appetite for complex instruments (at least for a while . . .)? </li></ul><ul><li>Will this limit availability of cross-border investment for MF expansion? Will new entrants exit or scale back their plans? What about the role of ratings? </li></ul><ul><li>And will the availability of domestic credit for MFIs be affected by the global credit crunch? </li></ul><ul><li>MF boards and managers might do well to consider alternatives to securitization, CDOs/CLOs, etc. </li></ul>
  14. Observation #5 – Regulators in the hot seat <ul><li>Role for market conduct regulation and even criminal prosecution – which products and practices should be beyond the pale? e.g., underwriting to current income, huge pre-payment penalties, mortgage broker pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Bring players under new or better regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Regulatory overhaul/consolidation </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of self-regulation </li></ul><ul><li>But is there a danger of overreaction and short-sighted responses driven by the crisis? </li></ul>
  15. Implications for MF – Regulation <ul><li>The political, policy regulatory responses in the US and Europe are likely to influence thought and practice in developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Greater awareness of concepts such as sub-prime products, reckless lending, predatory practices . . . and laissez-faire approaches less likely when market excesses appear? </li></ul><ul><li>Some danger that inappropriate balances will be struck between access, protection and stability goals </li></ul>
  16. South Africa National Credit Act <ul><li>Features of 2005 Act include: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of cross-industry market conduct regulation (banks, consumer lenders, retailers) and regulator </li></ul><ul><li>Reckless lending requirement – if lender is deemed reckless (cannot prove adequate process of affordability assessment), may not be able to collect in court </li></ul><ul><li>Certain product features & practices prohibited (e.g., pre-payment penalties, marketing & collections practices) </li></ul><ul><li>Standard contracts and mandatory plain language disclosures </li></ul><ul><li>Caps on interest, initiation fees, and servicing fees (albeit at very high levels) </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation of credit bureaus and debt counselors by NCR </li></ul>
  17. South Africa National Credit Act -- impact <ul><li>Huge credit surge just before NCA came into effect, followed by (short-term?) lending fall-off </li></ul><ul><li>Broad agreement that the NCA has: </li></ul><ul><li>Made lenders improve affordability assessment and loan/delinquency management </li></ul><ul><li>Brought down most pricing, at least to the cap and some evidence of price competition </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced some especially bad practices in the market, including credit insurance abuses (but limited enforcement capacity of regulator) </li></ul><ul><li>Led to consolidation among lenders – drove some players to the ground (and underground?) </li></ul>
  18. Will the Act have unintended consequences? <ul><li>How will consumers cope with restricted credit access in the face of inflation and aspirations? Will they go back to the “mashonistas” (money lenders) and end up more vulnerable rather than less? </li></ul><ul><li>Might self-employed households and informal businesses suffer from reduced access? </li></ul><ul><li>Will uncertainty surrounding courts’ reckless lending rulings have a chilling effect on lending, especially among lenders concerned about reputation risk? </li></ul><ul><li>Has consumer understanding of credit costs/terms really improved? Is there evidence of more/better comparison shopping? Or are they just confused in new ways? </li></ul><ul><li>Competition, consolidation or both? Entry barriers up </li></ul><ul><li>Does the Act strike the right balance? </li></ul>
  19. Some closing thoughts <ul><li>Recent developments in the MF industry are exciting – but we need to put growth, innovation, and capital market access in perspective and manage their risks appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on clients – don’t we have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to do no harm? </li></ul><ul><li>Clients have responsibility too, to make informed choices – role of financial education, transparent plain-language disclosures, and further work on client biases </li></ul><ul><li>Short-sighted to resist well-designed “light-touch” regulation </li></ul><ul><li>In the long run, all legitimate players benefit from responsible finance. </li></ul>
  20. Who benefits? Who pays?
  21. Thanks! Kate McKee, kmckee@worldbank.org Senior Policy Advisor CGAP Washington DC
  22. Building Financial Systems for the Poor Thank you!

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