Dodd-Frank, Securitization, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

71 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2012 Last revised: 3 Oct 2013

See all articles by Stephen P. Hoffman

Stephen P. Hoffman

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law

Date Written: September 12, 2012


There are few things more constant in life than the rise and fall of financial markets. When markets crash, however, we are forced to restore them while learning from our mistakes. In the wake of the recent subprime mortgage crisis, Congress has drastically but deservedly overhauled the regulation of financial markets in order to not only prevent such disasters in the future, but to help restore financial stability more quickly if and when they do occur.

In this Paper, I provide a background of the events leading up to the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression, focusing on subprime mortgages. Then, I analyze the process of securitization, as used in corporate finance to raise funding, and explain how these novel structures operate. I also describe financial derivatives, and how both of these innovations almost destroyed the global financial markets. Finally, I discuss Congress’s legislative response to the crisis - the Dodd-Frank Act - and describe how certain provisions of this comprehensive and ambitious law will help protect financial markets in the future.

Keywords: securitization, Dodd-Frank Act, Wall Street reform, subprime mortgage crisis, structured finance, risk retention, credit rating, credit rating agency, mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, credit derivative, credit default swap

JEL Classification: G1, G2, G3, G10, G15, G18, G19, G20, G21, G24, G28, G29, G30, G33, G34, G38, G39, K2, K3, K20, K22

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Stephen P., Dodd-Frank, Securitization, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis (September 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Stephen P. Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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