LibreMax's Lippmann Pushes To Cut Mortgage Balances

Nov 7 2011 | 1:17pm ET

Proponents of mortgage-debt forgiveness have a new backer: Hedge fund manager Greg Lippmann.

Lippmann, who made his name at Deutsche Bank betting against subprime mortgages, told investors in his LibreMax Capital that the majority of mortgage modifications are missing the mark, Bloomberg News reports.

"Principal reductions are necessary to help ameliorate the housing crisis," Lippmann told LibreMax clients in an Oct. 31 letter. Lippmann added that "prominent economists from both the left and the right" back cutting mortgage balances, and noted that mortgage modifications that don't cut principal—such as those that only reduce interest rates—actually make borrowers 1.7 times more likely to default.

Less than 6% of mortgage renegotiations in the second quarter included principal reductions, and more than 10 million defaults could occur without them.

Lippmann isn't alone among hedge fund managers calling for principal reductions. Metacapital Management's Deepak Narula last month wrote that principal reductions "would go a long way towards ending the large overhang on the housing market of foreclosed homes, which would otherwise take several years to clear."

Lest one think that Lippmann's push is entirely altruistic, LibreMax has invested in mortgage-backed securities that would benefit from principal reductions. But Lippmann did says that he's built a portfolio "reasonably insulated with regard to different modification outcomes."


In Depth

GSAM’s Papagiannis on Liquid Alternatives

May 25 2016 | 5:07pm ET

The popularity of liquid alternatives strategies has blossomed in recent years,...

Lifestyle

From Modern Trader: Stephen Curry is a Black Swan

May 18 2016 | 7:43pm ET

What do the rise of the Internet, the sinking of the Titanic, 9/11, and Stephen...

Guest Contributor

LendingClub and the Question of Internal Hedge Funds

May 19 2016 | 8:42pm ET

Peer-to-peer lending platform LendingClub Corp. has been in the news since the firm...