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Thornburg Borrowers Organize Online To Demand The Same Rights As Banks

April 28, 2009, 12:00 am
By Corey Pein
I ran across this blog a week or so ago, after SFR's cover on Thornburg Mortgage. It's written by a woman in Chicago who bought a house with a Thornburg loan. Now that the company's in bankruptcy, she wants Thornburg borrowers to "unite" to persuade the company to offer them the right to buy back their mortgages. "Banks buy back their debt," she writes. "Why can't we?"

Good question.

Reuters business blogger Felix Salmon endorsed her idea, with a caveat:
The borrowers are saying that if Thornburg is willing to sell their loan to an outside investor for 69 cents, it should be even more willing to sell that loan back to the homeowner for 70 cents. But in fact it's more complicated than that. The homeowners who are willing and able to buy back their own loans for 70 cents on the dollar are generally the most valuable of Thornburg's borrowers — they're overwhelmingly likely to be the ones whose loans are worth par, or more. So if Thornburg allows them to buy their own loans back, the value of the remaining mortgages goes down, and the investors aren't going to be willing to pay 69 cents on the dollar any more.

Also, Kelli K, the author of the Thornburg Borrowers Unite blog, broke a little news the other day, after calling the firm that's handling Thornburg's bankruptcy, Houlihan Lokey. Here's what they told her:
First of all, despite what many of us believed, Thornburg did NOT keep many of our loans on their books. I was told there were "maybe a dozen" mortgages that had not been securitized. In other words, there are a few crumbs at the bottom of the cookie jar.

For everyone else, the only question that remains is who will take over the servicing rights that Thornburg used to enjoy. I was told that the company's creditors are trying to figure out who walks off with that prize right now. If you received the same email I got yesterday from Thornburg, you already know that it may take up to 90 days for us to learn who the new servicer is.

What's the upshot for those who live in Thornburg's backyard? Not much. Not many New Mexicans were Thornburg customers. This is just a little glimpse into the isues that come up in a bankruptcy.

 

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