NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Predatory Lending and the Subprime Crisis

Sumit Agarwal, Gene Amromin, Itzhak Ben-David, Souphala Chomsisengphet, Douglas D. Evanoff

NBER Working Paper No. 19550
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s):   LE

We measure the effect of an anti-predatory pilot program (Chicago, 2006) on mortgage default rates to test whether predatory lending was a key element in fueling the subprime crisis. Under the program, risky borrowers and/or risky mortgage contracts triggered review sessions by housing counselors who shared their findings with the state regulator. The pilot cut market activity in half, largely through the exit of lenders specializing in risky loans and through decline in the share of subprime borrowers. Our results suggest that predatory lending practices contributed to high mortgage default rates among subprime borrowers, raising them by about a third.

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