Subprime loans are credit products issued to borrowers with relatively lower
The Subprime Market
Banks issue subprime loans for a number of reasons. Commercial banks' share of the subprime lending market has increased, as the recession-driven collapse of the subprime market resulted in a shake-out of non-bank mortgage originators that previously played a much larger role in subprime mortgage
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High Interest Rates
Subprime lenders assume greater default risk by lending to buyers with no, or poor credit histories, and are compensated in the form of higher interest rates. Interest rates on subprime
Community Reinvestment Act
Another reason commercial banks make subprime loans is that it fits their mandate to contribute to the economic growth of their community. In 1977, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act in an effort to reduce discriminatory lending practices, and to increase home ownership among minorities. The passing of this legislation led to huge increase in subprime lending, still evident today.
Growth in the market for collateralized debt obligations, which allow banks to bundle the loans held on their balance sheet, and sell them to investors, have greatly increased commercial bank's subprime lending activities. The strength of the CDO market has allowed banks to reduce the balance sheet risks associated with subprime loans that were potentially of lower quality than at the time of origination, by simply selling them off. This also provided liquidity to banks, which is critical to maintaining capital adequacy. This includes primarily subprime mortgage and auto loans, but also subprime installment loans to a lesser degree.
During the economic recession that peaked during 2009, the secondary market for collateralized mortgage obligations shrunk dramatically, but has rebounded. The market for subprime auto loans grew organically while the overall CDO market recovered, and now represents a small portion of the overall market.