What's hot for 2011: Mortgage-backed securities?
It seems like only yesterday that virtually everyone thought mortgage-backed securities were evil. After all, the securities – backed by mortgages including subprime home loans – helped put the country's largest banks on the brink and the global economy into a dizzying downward spiral after the housing bust started. In the years leading up to the financial crisis, as credit boomed in tandem with home sales, Wall Street shored up on mortgage-backed securities. At the time, at least, it was almost easy to see the appeal of betting on securities whose values depended on mortgage payments and housing prices. But when things went awry, these securities were akin to the plague – not just for Wall Street who reported big losses, but the folks on Main Street who linked the complex financial instruments with their economic woes.