One way to make mortgages easier to get

By Joe Light | The Wall Street Journal

To broaden mortgage access, the U.S. government wants to revive the market that brought the economy to its knees. But years of effort haven’t succeeded in rekindling it.

For the eighth straight year, the market for mortgage-backed securities issued by private financial institutions, as opposed to government-backed companies or agencies, was moribund in 2015. The volume of such bonds backed by loans to borrowers with shakier credit histories—known as subprime or Alt-A—fell 36% from the previous year to $1.67 billion, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication. By comparison, lenders issued $269.1 billion of such bonds in 2003, before the housing boom.


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