Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where is AIG?

Stocks of the monoline insurers are up 10% to 25% in a week as stories of mortgage putbacks have become front page news. Hedge funds, institutional investors, and the mortgage insurers of all types are all making headlines as they try to push back their losses onto the original pools of loans that they insured, claiming that the loans never met the stated underwriting criteria. The robo-signings and the latest foreclosure mess only strengthens the view that banks were not diligent when they originated the loans or created the mortgage pools.

What is shocking, is that so far AIG does not appear to be involved. AIG FP was one of the biggest losers in the CMO fiasco. They (and the taxpayers) have as much as anyone to gain from pushing back on those original pools they insured (or wrote protection on), being in the unique position of having paid out 100 cents on the dollar to unwind the swaps with Goldman, Merrill, SocGen, etc. Why is AIG silent? Is it because they are working on their case and keeping a low profile? Or is the government is so clueless that they aren't investigating the potential to reclaim money for taxpayers? Or is it that they are refusing to rock the "equities" boat, scared to sue Goldman (after the relatively trivial Abacus settlement), or even do not want to sue Citi (which they - or rather we - also own)?

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