Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not Subprime

As Big Shitpile continues to pretend this isn't happening.

A large part of E*Trade’s basket of assets was securities backed by high-quality mortgages — loans to homeowners with strong credit ratings and reasonably large equity cushions. That could raise troubling questions on Wall Street about the true value of “prime” mortgage assets, especially when they need to be liquidated in a hurry.

The picture becomes clearer when you look at this breakdown, which E*Trade shared with investors in October. It shows that more than $1.35 billion of E*Trade’s asset-backed portfolio consisted of prime, first-lien residential mortgages rated “AA” or better — hardly toxic sludge by any stretch of the imagination.

So consider this: Even if E*Trade got nothing — not a cent — for anything but these top-quality mortgage securities, it still sold $1.35 billion in prime mortgage assets for $800 million, or less than 60 cents on the dollar.