Friday, October 31, 2008

JPM Getting Out In Front of Mortgage Writedowns

JPMorgan's generosity to homeowners willing to keep paying their mortgages is nice:

The offer extends to customers of Washington Mutual Inc., the savings and loan JPMorgan agreed to buy last month, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Loan modifications may include interest-rate or principal reductions.

Of course, if they're willing to adjust terms they'll eventually have to write down the $110B value of these mortgages on their balance sheet. That's just as well, since TARP money won't be going to buy up mortgages anyway. Well done, JPM. Now if only Wells Fargo could follow suit instead of unrealistically extending the period during which they recognize a mortgage as non-performing.

Nota bene: Anthony J. Alfidi does not hold any positions in JPM or WFC at the time this commentary was published.