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What was the Subprime Meltdown?

A high volume of loans issued to those who were unable to repay them, and a high volume of derivative securities traded on top of these loans, contributed to the subprime meltdown of 2007-2009. A large amount of collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and other collateralized debt were owned by large institutions and investors as alternative high yield investments prior to the crash of 2007-2009. Continue reading...

What is an A-note?

An A-note describes a slice of the top tranche of an asset-backed security. Asset-backed securities are categorized into tranches for quality, and an A-note is a share of the best available tranche. Asset-backed securities include Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (see — CDOs), Mortgage-Backed Securities, Credit Card Debt, and other kinds of cash flows, especially related to debt instruments that have been pooled and sold to investors. This shifts the risk from the lending institution to the underwriters and investors in the asset-backed security. Continue reading...

What are Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)?

Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) are bond-like investments backed by debts such as mortgages. The mortgages or debt obligations are pooled together and divided into tranches based on the maturity date and coupon payments and sold as securities (CDOs). If interest rates change and the borrowers in the underlying pools can refinance their debts, the CDOs will experience some volatility as the obligations are paid off early, but how much volatility depends on which tranche the investment is in. Continue reading...

What Kinds of ETFs Exist?

There are many ETFs on the market and more popping up all the time. Currently, there are over 900 ETFs available on the market, covering basically every market sector, industry, commodity, asset class, country, style of investing on the stock market. The amount of money invested in ETFs has increased exponentially over the last decade and is likely to continue in that direction. Many more ETFs are introduced to the market every year, many with different and creative strategies that have never been available in a single investment product before. These might use Forex, rate swaps, CMOs, futures, options, short-selling, and other advanced or institutional trading strategies, to create a new kind of position in a sector, industry, or geography to which the investor wants to gain exposure. Continue reading...

What is Accrued Interest?

Accrued Interest applies to a bond or loan, accounting for the interest that is calculated per diem for the time between payments. Accrued Interest is the amount of interest that has "built up" between the last payment and the present, with regards to bonds and loans. If a bond is sold from one person to another, and the corporation or municipality that issued the bond pays out an interest payment at regular intervals, the sale price will have to factor-in the "accrued interest" since the last distribution, and the buyer will have to pay the seller for the accrued interest due while the latter held the bond. Continue reading...

What is an Asset-Backed Security?

Asset-backed securities are bonds or notes that come in several forms, but they typically use the cash flows from debt repayment as the asset that backs them. The assets that back the bonds called asset-backed securities (ABS) can be basically anything with a fairly predictable cash flow, but debt repayment cash flows tend to be used the most. These include credit card debt, home equity loans, auto loans, student loans, and so forth. Continue reading...

What is a No-Appraisal Mortgage?

Most mortgages require that an appraisal or at least inspection is done before any loan is made. There are exceptions to this, in the form of no-appraisal mortgages which are available to lower-income homeowners, qualifying members of the military and its veterans, and some farmers. Most no-appraisal loans are through federal programs such as HARP, FHA, and the VA. The purpose of these loans is to keep people in their homes and to keep the economy relatively stable. These are generally not first mortgages, but are relief, modification, and refinancing arrangements to qualifying homeowners that already have a mortgage outstanding. Continue reading...

What are Asset-Backed Securities?

An Asset-Backed Security, or ABS, are bonds or notes backed by financial assets. It is an example of “securitization.” The assets within the ABS generally tend to consist of different kinds of debt receivables, such as credit cards, auto loans, home equity loans, and so forth. Banks build portfolios of receivables in making loans and issuing credit, and then in many cases package these loans together and sell them to investors (known as “securitization”). Continue reading...

What is a Housing Bubble?

Bubbles form in markets when there is such a large amount of demand that it drives prices up to levels where it is no longer supported by inherent value. Bubbles have effects on an interconnected web of economic forces and institutions. It was postulated before 2008 that the housing market could not form a bubble in the same way the stock market could, but the subprime meltdown proved those theorists wrong. Bubbles are when a market suffers from unnatural price inflation due to speculation, bandwagon investing, and, to some extent, misinformation. Continue reading...

What are Subprime Loans?

Subprime loans are loans made by institutions to individuals who do not meet the industry standards for a desirable loan client. Lenders such as banks and mortgage companies are able to shift much of the risk of loans they make by selling the debt off to investors and investment banks in the form of collateralized mortgage obligations and other forms of securitized debt. This paves the way for lenders to adopt more liberal guidelines around who can receive a loan for their home purchase and so forth. A thorough banker who is preserving the financial stability of his employing institution will perform due diligence to prove that a client can meet the repayment schedule for the loan by showing adequate cash flow and credit history. Continue reading...

What is Subordinated Debt?

Subordinated Debt is a junior security which will be serviced after the Unsubordinated Debt in the event of a company bankruptcy. Subordinated Debt has been deemed less important than the Unsubordinated Debt that a company has taken on, in terms of what priority it will have for payment in the event of company default. The amount of money and length of term on the loan are considerations when making this distinction. Continue reading...

What is Freddie Mac?

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored company which purchases mortgages from banks and securitizes them for sales to investment banks or individuals. Freddie Mac is not a government organization, but was established by a congressional mandate in the 1970’s. It’s proper name is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The company’s purpose is to make mortgage debts into marketable securities by purchasing the mortgage risk and cash flow from banks and dividing into tranches which are sold to or through investment banking institutions. The securitized mortgages are known as Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMO’s. Continue reading...

What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?

In 2009 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commissioned the HARP program to help Americans upside-down on mortgages to get approved for mortgage refinancing. This is only available to people whose mortgages are already owned by Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many Americans find themselves upside-down, or underwater, on their home mortgages, particularly after the housing bubble popped in 2008. To be underwater means that there is more owed on the loan than the home can serve as collateral for. Continue reading...

What is Bond Insurance?

Bond insurance is a contract that protects the issuer and the holder of bonds from the risk that bond payments will not be made. Bond issues from the corporate or municipal world, or from derivative sources as with asset-backed securities and CDOs, come with the risk of default-- that is, that payments will not be made on time. The major credit ratings agencies (CRAs) assign a risk of default to each bond issue with proprietary analysis methods and ratings. Continue reading...

What is the FHFA?

The Federal Housing Finance Association is the Conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since the 2008 meltdown. The FHFA was established as an independent government entity to oversee the secondary mortgage market. The FHFA is a regulatory agency which took over for the Federal Housing Finance Board and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). It was created in 2008 by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), and it oversees the operations of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the 11 federal home loan (FHL) banks. If you’ll recall, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide liquidity to banks and transfer risk from them by buying their mortgage cash flows from them. Continue reading...

What is Securitization?

Securitization is to turn an asset which would otherwise not be a liquid, tradable security, into one. Simply put, securitization turns assets into securities. The most common example when discussing securitization is mortgage-backed securities, in which the cash flow of interest and principal payments on mortgage loans has been pooled, cut up, and distributed for sale in the form of marketable securities which can be held by an everyday investor. The bank or institution who sold the mortgage-backed securities receives cash which they can loan out to more home-buyers. Continue reading...

What is the structure of Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs)?

Unlock the secrets of Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs)! Dive into their diverse tranches, creation process, benefits (diversification, higher yields), and risks (credit, liquidity). Make informed CLO investments with our comprehensive guide. 💼📊 #Investing #CLOs #Finance Continue reading...

What is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is to lenders what FDIC insurance is to savers; it protects lending institutions from mortgage defaults. By protecting lenders, the FHA was begun with the intention to stimulate the housing market. The FHA was established in 1934 in an effort to stimulate the construction and purchase of new homes by offering insurance protection to the institutions (banks and mortgage companies) who make mortgage loans. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgagor?

The mortgagor is the borrower in a mortgagor/mortgagee relationship, where the mortgagee is the lending institution that makes the mortgage loan. Mortgages are used to purchase real property, usually single family homes. The purchase of a home with a mortgage and the payments on the mortgage are one of the largest financial decisions or obligations that a mortgagor will ever make. If a mortgagor is delinquent on payments, he or she might be categorized as a home debtor, and the loan would be subject to foreclosure. If there is a foreclosure, the bank or lender will reposes the house, evict the former owner, and sell the house as quickly as possible, sometimes through an auction. Continue reading...

What is Collateral?

Collateral is an asset/property that a borrower commits to a lender in exchange for a loan, which will be forfeited if the borrower defaults. A loan that has collateral attached to it will generally carry a more favorable interest rate, but that is not necessarily always the case. Some examples of collateral are a house when you take out a mortgage, your car when you take out an auto loan, or the stocks in your portfolio if you take your account on margin. Continue reading...