More than twenty of the largest subprime mortgage lenders relied on financing from U.S. banks that are now relying on billions of dollars in rescue funds, a report release on Wednesday concludes.
Most subprime lenders went bust or were acquired when a five-year housing boom ended in 2006 as home values began to decline, inventories swelled and foreclosures hit a record pace.
While most subprime lenders have vanished, their affiliates and parent companies have tapped $700 billion in federal aid more than a year after those risky home loans poisoned world financial markets.
On Thursday, U.S. bank regulators are due to report on how much fresh capital large banks need to weather the current downturn.
The mega-banks that funded the subprime industry were not victims of an unforeseen financial collapse, said Bill Buzenberg of the Center for Public Integrity.
These banks were deliberate enablers that bankrolled the type of lending that's now threatening the financial system.
In all, the Congress has cleared $700 billion in taxpayer money to help stabilize markets with Goldman and Morgan Stanley receiving $10 billion each while Bank of America got a $25 billion investment.
While subprime lenders are a thing of the past the rescue funds are going to aid brand name banks who quietly made big subprime bets, the report concludes.
We are pumping cash into companies that contributed to their own demise, said John Dunbar, a researcher with the center, which combed through investor reports and government data to compile its report.
The authors of the report hope that it will serve as a primer for those who hope to better understand the roots of the current financial crisis.
More information on the report can be found at: http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/economic_meltdown/ (By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Neil Stempleman)