The Secretive Nature of the NPL Market Continues, the FDIC Included


Recently we heard that the FDIC unloaded a $900 million pool of nonperforming and troubled notes, but the agency failed to release a press release on the deal. (It was a structured finance transaction.) In November 2010 the FDIC sold a $23 billion package of MSRs tied to the failed AmTrust Bank. No press release was issued on that deal either. Meanwhile, we understand that over the past few months several Wall Street banks have been buying and selling $1 billion-plus portfolios of NPLs. So, who’s unloading this stuff? The rumor mill suggests the sellers include Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others. Some banks, like Citigroup, run trading desks that sell nothing but NPLs, but do we see any disclosures? Nope. It might be a good idea for the House and Senate banking committees to hold a hearing on the state of the mortgage “recovery,” one that would explore just how many NPLs have been liquidated and sold since the crisis began. Unfortunately it’s an election year and our political leaders are too concerned with making headlines that their respective bases can relate to. Ask a consumer what an NPL is and rest assured you’ll get a blank stare. But ask them what Freddie Mac is and you might hear them utter Newt Gingrich‘s name.

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