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Well-Heeled Mortgage Borrowers Face Cold Shoulder From Lenders

April 21, 2020, 2:50 PM

The wealthiest, most-reliable mortgage borrowers in the U.S. are hearing an unfamiliar word from lenders: No.

The global pandemic has flipped the mortgage market upside down, turning the industry’s most-valued customers into risky bets. When the rich lose income and stop paying, costs for lenders are magnified because the loans -- known as jumbos since they are bigger than most conventional mortgages -- don’t have the government to backstop losses.

“Before this crisis hit us, jumbo loans were pretty attractive,” Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree Inc., said. “But because they don’t have the government guarantee, a lot ...

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