REFinBlog

Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 8, 2024

Why Does a Bank Sell Your Mortgage?

By David Reiss

I was quoted in Marketplace’s story, Why Does a Bank Sell Your Mortgage? You can listen to it here. The transcript opens,

Right after Marc Hill bought his first home, a townhouse north of Chicago, in the summer of 2019, he got a letter telling him his mortgage had been sold. He didn’t think much of it after Googling around.

“I read that was kind of normal. And then it happened again. And then again. And I was like, ‘Well, what’s going on here?’” he said with a laugh.

Recently, less than five years after his purchase, the mortgage on Hill’s townhouse changed hands for the fourth time.

“Welcome to the 21st century housing market,” said David Reiss, a professor of real estate finance and housing policy at Brooklyn Law School. Today, upward of 70% of mortgages are sold into the secondary market.

“A lot of people have a sense that mortgages work like they did maybe in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’” he said. “Where you walk into your bank and if they think you’re a good risk, they’re going to give you some mortgage, and that’s going to come from money that they have from deposits.”

Sometimes that is how it works. But for the most part, Reiss said, “instead of banks lending you money that they have in deposit, once the bank makes the mortgage they then sell it to investors.”

When the bank or lender that originated your mortgage sells it, they get back all the money they lent you right away, plus a chunk of the interest you’re expected to pay over the life of your mortgage. They also get some of your closing costs.

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