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EverydayInvestor (< 20)

Downey Financial (DSL): What Comes Next



June 22, 2008 – Comments (10) | RELATED TICKERS: DSL.DL , WB , WAMUQ

Disclosure: I am short DSL. I may add to or close this position at any time without notice. I am not a professional bank analyst and I may have made errors in the following analysis. Please feel free to point them out.

Downey Financial (DSL) is a large California Savings and Loan that made the mistake of making all its loans pay-option ARMS. Most of its borrowers have used the option to pay less than the interest-only rate, meaning that their mortgage balance keeps increasing over time. This, combined with the falling prices of California real estate, could destroy the bank.

I will start this with Cramer's take from a year ago:

How's that working out for you, Cramer? Here's a chart of Downey's stock over the last year.

One could say that Downey has had its share of bad news over the last year. I would argue that the bad news has only just begun.

Beres Hammond - "Bad News"

The question is, what is next for Downey? I will begin the analysis by quoting a commentator who is a bit smarter than Cramer, anchak from CAPS. He is also more knowledgeable about banks than I am. The following are his main reasons for being bearish about Downey; they come from his bear pitch on DSL on CAPS.

"(1) There's a very simple one : They have done the riskiest product possible. Neg-Am, Interest Only Option ARMS - a lot of it , it seems. $6BN with possibly >10% underwater valuation. Just this, if they had to take a Mark-to-Market would probably be enough to wipe them out. However, they are not required as long as the cash keeps coming in.

(2) Hence their life-line is on the Liability side. $1BN of FHLB advance maturing this year - they have to roll this over - I do not think they are in a position to repay. They can barely service the interest. And obviously their depositors also have to keep faith.

(3) There are also a myriad of other factors - Huge Monoline exposure ( FGIC and RMIC) - about $500MM as well as high OREO book ($200MM) - which they have to Mark-to-Market and if it keeps growing , they'll bleed more and more. "

Anchak brought up some bull arguments and I will deal with them in due course (but not point by point, because that is boring).

The Loan Portfolio

At the end of 2007, the total allowance was $349.4 million. Take a look at pages 46 and 47 of the 2007 10k: $7,530 million in loans are subject to possible negative amortization (meaning they are pay-option ARMS). Of those, 86% have a balance higher than when the loan was originated. That is $6,501 million in loans where the owners cannot afford to even pay the full interest due on their loans. A total of $379 million of negative amortization is included in the total loan balance. The total average loan to value (LTV) ratio has gone from 73% to 77% since loan origination (and at the same time prices have been falling; across most of California prices are below 2005 levels and will soon be below 2004 levels).


In the most recent quarter, Downey had $35 million in negative amortization "income".In 2007, the total was $245 million. While this might seem good, it is not. This means two things: (1) that many loans are non-accrual now and (2) that Downey's loans are starting to recast and require payment of principal. By the way, since the beginning of 2005, Downey has "earned" $673 million in negative amortization. Much of that will never be recovered.

The Balance Sheet

Downey's balance sheet is a nightmare for both shorts and longs. It is a nightmare for longs because book value will take a huge hit over the next year. It is already down to $1,090 million as of March 31 from  $1,334 million as of December 31. That is an 18% decrease in just three months. The balance sheet is a nightmare for shorts because Downey's price to book ratio is only 0.11. If Downey can avoid receivership, the stock could easily double, even after a dilutive share offering. The question is whether Downey can avoid receivership. Here are my estimates.

I am more pessimistic than anchak: I believe that fully 30% (vs. anchak's 20% estimate) of Downey's pay-option loans will go non-performing (why do I belive this? It is really just a SWAG; see below for a better methodology). 10% will be restructured while 20% will not. I will charitably assume that Downey will reduce the principal on the restructured loans by 30%. This will give it a hit of $226 million. Furthermore, of the 20% that do not get restructured, I will assume that 80% go to foreclosure. With house prices down over 20% already (actually, the median is down 30% in California, but I will charitably assume that 1/3 of the drop is due to a the foreclosure discount on REO houses sold), these people are already underwater. With an average price drop of 40% over the initial value of the house, and loan to (original) values at around 80% at foreclosure, the bank will take  a 36% loss on the original house value (20% loss of equity plus 10% carrying costs and 6% selling costs), which comes to 49% of the loan book value (80% * 64% = 51%).

I will round down and call that 50% for simplicity's sake. So that means a 10% loss on $7,530million, or $753 million. Add this to the restructuring loss and we get $979 million in losses. We subract from this $546 million in loan loss allowances, so we get $433 in un-reserved losses. Subtracting this from the book value we get an adjusted book value of $657 million. From this we subtract another $35m to account for a 20% loss on Downey's REO assets. We end up with adjusted book value of $622 million. This loss would likely drive the bank under the well-capitalized level for both core capital and risk-based capital, requiring the bank to raise assets at a highly-dilutive price. Assuming the share price remains the same, though, the bank could raise $200m at only 200% dilution. The bank would still be trading at about 60% of adjusted book value even accounting for dilution. These estimates could be wildly optimistic, though ...

Things are not getting better

Take a look at this chart of NPAs by month.

Here is the increase in NPAs per month over hte last five months:
May    $9,151,411
April    $17,778,336
March    $12,050,642
February $20,582,804
January    $19,441,234

Max Priest and Beres Hammond - "How can we ease the pain?"

Recast Hell

From the most recent 10Q:
"A higher incidence of delinquency is expected when the minimum payments reset on our adjustable rate loans subject to negative amortization or interest only payments, whereby the interest rate is fixed for the first three to five years. For example, as of March 31, 2008, there were $976 million of loans subject to negative amortization or with interest only payments within our loans held for investment that have not been modified but had first time payment recasts since December 31, 2006, of which 36.1% were delinquent 30 or more days at March 31, 2008." (emphasis mine)

A different way to analyze Downey's balance sheet is to look at the proportion of recast loans that become non-performing. A loan recasts when the total LTV hits 110% or after an initial interest-only period ends. At this point, the minimum payment changes from negative-amortization or interest-only to fully-amortizing. This can double or even triple payments. Unsurprisingly, 36% of loans that have been recast in the last two years are delinquent by more than 30 days. Downey estimates (see page 30 of its 10Q) that $824 million in loans will recast in Q2 2008, then $741m in Q3, and $548m in Q4 (and an additional $1,800m in 2009 and 1,040m in 2010). Using a 36% delinquency rate on these loans and applying my above loan loss assumptions (20% cure rate and 50% loss on uncured loans), I estimate that Downey will have to write-down 14.4% of the value of these loans, or $304 million for 2008 recasts, $205m for 2009 recasts, and $150m for 2010 recasts.

Applying these total losses of $659 million to the $35m in losses on current REO inventory and subtracting it from current book value, we get the adjusted book value (we don't add the loan-loss allowances back in because those are to account for loans that are already past due). We end up with an adjusted book value of $396 million. Assume a 200% dilutive offering (which would not even raise enough money to keep Downey well-capitalized), and at current market prices we get a $347m market cap. In other words, even with optimistic assumptions about raising money, Downey is trading at about adjusted book value. With more realistic assumptions of a 400% dilutive offering at a discount to the current $4.15 stock price, things start to look rather grim for equity holders.

More Information:

2007 10K
2008 Q1 10Q
13 month loan performance

Bank run in "It's a Wonderful Life"

 Disclosure: I am short DSL. I may add to or close this position at any time without notice.



10 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 22, 2008 at 10:05 PM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

DSL currently has about 45% of its stock sold short. For a bull case, see this SeekingAlpha article.

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#2) On June 22, 2008 at 10:12 PM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Anchak or someone else who knows stuff about analyzing banks, does this make sense?

"Then there is the farce of negative amortization. Subtract that accumlated neg. am. interest of $375 million from book value (not to double count with the general provision for loan loss) put this in the specific loan provision bucket rather than the general provision."

This is from a comment on the above SA article. If I read this right, the commentator does not believe that removing the negative amortization gains from book value double counts it. Is this correct? If so, I forgot to subtract this from book value in my above calculations and I am overstating Downey's adjusted book value by a substantial margin.

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#3) On June 22, 2008 at 10:17 PM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Somehow this seemed appropriate to describe the problems of bankers in general and Downey in particular:

The Notorious B.I.G. - Mo' Money, Mo' Problems (featuring Mase and Puff Diddly Wink)

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#4) On June 22, 2008 at 10:49 PM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Actually, DSL's short interest is up to 70% of the float. See this SA article.

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#5) On June 23, 2008 at 10:38 AM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Here's a good overview of FED at SeekingAlpha.

Disclosure: I'm short FED.

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#6) On June 23, 2008 at 11:07 AM, anchak (99.86) wrote:

Michael....interesting I was thinking about my DSL estimate this morning....and I glanced at your article.....I will probably reply more in detail.....but my estimate in the charge off actually did not factor in the additional MTM Write-Off hit they have to take due to when you want to dispose off a property even if you can realize full value - in a Neg-Am situation all the piled on top interest  ( which adds to the balance) needs to be written off.


I think you calc is on the mark - I actually wouldn't be surprised if the number was around 60%  net hit - Their exposure is primarily in LA and San Diego.

Folks...DSL as Michael says is a nightmare for both Longs and Shorts. If you read my pitch - they are consumer loan company. That usually gives you time to work things out with the myriads of customer you have - DSL is trying to do this thru the TDRs mentioned in their 10Q. And they have a high Loan Loss Reserve - about 5% of loans, I think.

But their NPAs keep climbing and due to the extreme nature of the Loans they did ( Beware this no Home Equity and conservative LTV statements - I saw it on their 10Q and immediately looked for their concentration near the 80% LTV band - lo and behold almost majority of exposure is sitting there - do you really want us to believe that they found these gems of borrowers in the middle of KALI-FORNIA who took A NEG-AM, OPTION ARM LOAN from DSL and put down 20% down-payment. Its with the bloke down the street and most surely it will be a HELOC - which can also be Neg-Am - at a minimum Interest Only.) The loans are under water big time - >10% ( I computed based on the disclosure)  and Michael says on a portfolio basis avg LTV climbed up 4% - that's a lot for the portfolio - the ones that go bad will have at least 3x-4x more  - so 15-20% under water  - to begin with. So as a first lien holder - they gave away any advantage: Or you may look at it this way - at least they will not have to write-down from a 125% value. Additionally, given the nature of the ARMs ( most were 2/3 yr reset periods - and originated in 2006-2007) - resets would be starting right about now. Q2 and Q3 will be telling for Downey - I think their TDR line grows fatter and fatter. Basically give up income ( yield) to postpone the principal hit. I do not see any other way. 

My book value dilution was a little  optimistic - but I buy Michael's also. Honestly, its difficult to pin-point - but they need a good capital infusion - and where they are - they may not get it.


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#7) On June 23, 2008 at 11:31 AM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the comment, anchak. I just halved my positions in SSBX and DSL this morning (I'm still short both). I now have small enough positions in these where I can just sit and wait for the end and I would be easily able to stomach a 200% loss if things go against me.

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#8) On June 26, 2008 at 12:07 AM, anchak (99.86) wrote:

I apologize for the delay :

By the numbers

Based on DSLs latest 12 month trend filing - I conservatively estimate NPAs topping out at around 20% of asset = the will have about 2.5BN+ NPA - about Q1,2009. This is already about $500 MM short of current Tangible capital + LLR

Again based on peak NPA , assuming 50% Recognition of a loss ( ie actual loss event happening with them having to do a Loss Given Default charge- you will find this number in the 10Q - its around 22% now and climbing - essentially the first charge they take before having to put it into REO - all else recognized later as an expense on MTM ) and a 60% ( Lifetime MTM) , I get about $770 MM in losses ( spread over say another 12-18 months).

Additionally they are aggressively pursuing TDRs as a way of buying time ( Everything in Downey I find is about buying time - its good actually). I assume about a 25% default rate on these and they would go into loss and with the same 60% Lifetime MTM = $100 MM

I am also assuming another 30% mark on their REO book ( They here are buying time as opposed to CRBC - DSL is in no way to continously markdown properties to fair value in LA and San Diego. Average CSW-HPI declines are about 30%. On a REO property it is much severe) = $60 MM 

Net I get about $930 MM.

Additionally they have about $500 MM exposure to monoline ( RMIC and MGIC, I think UGI is ok - AIG parent). I guess they take about 10% mark ultimately there - if any go belly up , more.

Thus about $1 BN - Peak loss though. But nothing crazy about it - if values in LA and San Diego continue to tank - these numbers will look worse.

Their current Tier 1 is at 8.50% - which isnt bad, And LLR at 5% of assets - THESE 2 ARE THE BIGGEST + for Downey.

But I believe their next quarter charge-off ( its at $37 MM this Q1) will  go to $60 MM  and start mimicking the NPA trend - losses lag. Thus if they follow their trend - they will raise LLR alongside - thus eating into Core Capital.

I easily see them at 6.5% Tier in 2 more quarters. I think they should raise capital before that.

How much - if they follow my logic they need minimum $500 MM - but you should play on the safe side with capital. Depends on what they get - also my loss is not NPVd ( The numbers I portray are over a 2 year realizable horizon, I think)


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#9) On June 26, 2008 at 10:17 AM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the analysis anchak. I guess we'll see what happens. I'm betting that it is too late for DSL to raise much money (take a look at how BKUNA stock reacted to its announcement of a capital raise of 4x its market cap from last week).

I remain short DSL.

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#10) On July 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM, somebody44 (< 20) wrote:

I worked for DSL for 9 years.  They are super, extremely old school !  The answer for everything is "well that's how we've always done it".  There are a few really decent people there but basically they are getting just what they deserve! 


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