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More Renters = Less Risk for Wall Street

Is it time to temper the American dream of homeownership?

If you want to curb the power of Wall Street and reduce the risk that the financial system will bring the rest of the economy tumbling down again, there may be no other choice.

Consider what happened last week, when regulators pretty much threw in the towel on new rules requiring mortgage bankers to keep on their books a minimum share of all but the safest loans.

The idea was perfectly reasonable — a way to keep bankers’ “skin in the game” to encourage prudence. In the end, however, officials decided that just about all mortgages were supersafe. No need for banks to keep a chunk.

“The loophole has eaten the rule,” Barney Frank, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and co-author of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, told my fellow columnist Floyd Norris last week. “There is no residential mortgage risk retention.”

via More Renters, Less Risk for Wall St. – NYTimes.com.

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