This course will examine the short- and long-term factors that led to the current home-mortgage crisis. For the first several weeks, each class meeting will focus on a different potential contributor to the current state of affairs. Topics will include the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the development of new mortgage products, the financial instruments that created complex mortgage-ownership structures, the role of mortgage brokers and servicers, the state of disclosure law and its relationship to borrower decision-making, the effects of institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as potential legal reforms in- and outside of bankruptcy. The remaining classes will be devoted to student presentations on their seminar-paper topics. In addition to the topics discussed in class, students will be invited to write about ideas for improving the current situation and/or preventing such situations in the future.
While this course will address the effect of financial instruments such as credit default swaps on mortgage law and policy, it is not a finance seminar.
Prerequisites: Secured Credit or Bankruptcy