Roger Lowenstein has a massive, must-read piece on mortgage markets in next weekend’s NY Times magazine. Clocking in at more than 5,000 words, the piece is, well … long, but it is Lowenstein, so it is worth reading in its entirety. Roger’s walk-through of how Moody’s explained mortgage ratings to him via a real case is worth the effort alone.
And for those of you who can’t stomach the idea of reading something this long on a Tuesday, here is a tag cloud of the most common words in Roger’s piece. At least you can sound smart: Agencies! Borrowers! Triple-A! And my favorite: Moody Mortgage!!
My current favorite snippet from the piece is actually a quote from an S&P executive who says mortgage-related credit markets broke down because of consumers’ "ahistorical behavioral modes" (which is a great name for a blog). That’s right, it’s those darn buyers who messed up the mortgage market. As far as obfuscatory prose goes, that’s right up there with comScore being "directionally correct".