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Investor searches for diamonds in ResCap coal pile

John Paulson bets big on bankrupt mortgage company

March 26, 2014
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It’s not over for bankrupt mortgage company ResCap, as famous shortseller John Paulson joins the game and bets big on the company.

ResCap, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ally Financial (ALLY), serviced more than 2.4 million loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance of approximately $374 billion, according to a HousingWire report in October 2012. Of these, approximately 68% of the loans are owned, insured or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. ResCap has operations in Ft. Washington, Penn., Waterloo, Iowa, Dallas, Burbank and Costa Mesa, Calif. and Minneapolis, Minn.

That left enough business for Paulson to have huge hope in the defunct company.  

According to an article in the New York Post, Paulson has acquired the right through bankrupt mortgage company ResCap to sue banks and others that sold faulty mortgages in the run-up to the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008.  

ResCap could potentially recover anywhere from 10% to 40% of the $9 billion in claims — with damages ranging from $900 million to as high as $3.6 billion, the article said. 

This announcement comes shortly after the company recently reported to have fulfilled its $200 million relief obligations of the National Mortgage Settlement. 

And while ResCap is no longer originating mortgages, it's still making some money off servicing. According to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, net servicing income per loan increased to $355 per loan in the fourth quarter from $224 per loan in the third quarter.  In basis points, the average servicing profit was 19 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 12 basis points in the third quarter. 

Whether this new investment bodes well for Paulson or not, he is already renowned for making $4.9 billion by using credit default swaps to short the subprime mortgage market. Time will show if this move produces the same results. 

Changes are, judging by his track record, Paulson will find one or two sparklers in ResCap.