NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Playing Hide and Seek: How Lenders Respond to Borrower Protection

Youssef Benzarti

NBER Working Paper No. 26382
Issued in October 2019
NBER Program(s):Public Economics Program

This paper uses the universe of mortgage contracts to estimate the response of high-interest lenders to borrower protection regulations aimed at simplifying and making loan terms more transparent. Using a quasi-experimental design, we find that lenders substantially reduce interest rates – by an average of 10% – in order to avoid being subject to borrower protection, without reducing amounts lent or the number of loans approved. This finding implies that a substantial number of high-interest lenders prefer to issue obfuscatory mortgage contracts with lower interest rates rather than more transparent and regulated mortgages with higher interest rates.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26382

 
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