Essay contest november 2011

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Indeed, several studies on the NMTC Program have found inefficiencies that can be categorized into three areas: 1 high transaction costs; 2 inappropriate targeting of benefits; and 3 insufficient monitoring see reference 1. Significant structural changes are necessary in order to eliminate these drawbacks and increase the program's efficiency in attracting private equity to low-income communities. This article proposes three changes in particular that deal directly with the sources of the inefficiencies.

These changes are: 1 consolidation of CDEs with private investors, to simplify the structure of the NMTC Program and reduce transaction costs; 2 asset securitization, to motivate private equity investment in low-income communities; and 3 assessment of the program by using the prices of the securitized assets as signals of recipients' performance, which will enable recapture of the tax credits.

In This Section

These changes are discussed in greater detail below. As indicated above, the program's structure, interaction paths, and governing IRS regulations are complex and can involve high transaction costs and other cost inefficiencies see reference 1. For example, in a typical NMTC structure, the investor purchases the tax credit at a discounted rate.

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This reduction in price, when added to fees assessed by accountants or attorneys, can reduce the amount of equity left in the low-income community business after seven years by 35 to 50 percent. Consolidation of private investors corporate and individual with CDEs will make the program structure more comprehensible and more cost-efficient.

Since some private NMTC investors are already affiliated with CDEs, this change will not be completely unfamiliar and should not be difficult to implement see reference 1. See Figure 2 below. Consolidation of private investors and CDEs would have several benefits, in terms of reporting and monitoring costs, particularly for non-real estate NMTC projects.

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Consolidation would create an opportunity for better investment abilities due to the joint expertise that would reflect the interests of both sides investor and CDE. A simplified, united compliance-related report for CEs would simultaneously decrease transaction costs and increase efficiency. Besides, as a result of consolidation, CDEs and private investors would monitor each other's behavior, which would not only be cost-efficient, but would align with the interest of regulators.

The second proposed change for increasing the NMTC Program's effectiveness calls for implementation of asset securitization of real estate investment projects and collateral loans. See Figure 3. Asset securitization refers to the process by which NMTC real estate projects would be packaged as investment instruments and sold to investors. The effects of asset securitization have been studied by many researchers in the fields of economics, business, finance, and law from different perspectives.


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Most of these studies recognize that asset securitization increases the value of the firm that issues the securitized assets, and thereby provides opportunities, especially to mitigate risks to small firms see references 3, 8, 9, 15, and It would enhance monitoring of managerial behavior and improve incentives see references 2, 14, and The goal of asset securitization, applied to NMTC real estate investment projects operating in low-income communities, is to increase their financial health, thereby increasing the interest of potential private investors.

An additional important advantage of adding asset securitization to the NMTC Program would be better monitoring of real estate projects and their managers. Asset securitization would give the shareholders, or CEs, the ability to monitor the performance of the NMTC financing recipients based on the asset prices in the market. This virtually automatic monitoring process would be mostly based on managerial performance, which is assumed to have the most important impact on project performance see reference 9. This is an important aspect of the monitoring process, since financial statements on the current performance, per se, do not inform about future value fluctuations.

Furthermore, with asset securitization, the price of the assets will reflect the financial performance of the real estate projects. It is, therefore, in the CEs' interest to see the costs of the projects controlled. Requiring CEs to be shareholders of these assets provides them with proper incentives for maximizing profits and minimizing costs. Upon the sale of securitized assets to new buyers i.

If the new investor decides to "buy" securitized NMTC projects or loans during the first seven years after the inception of the tax subsidy, the residual tax credit may be captured by the new investor starting from the point at which the transaction is completed or ownership is established.


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The conditions of the tax subsidies would remain the same as they were for the original investor i. Such conditions on the capture of the tax credits would ensure that CEs have an incentive to not only invest in the project or make loans, but also maintain their success in order to keep their market value high. Thus, the major attraction for interested buyers of the securitized projects and loans would be their market value and profit potential.

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Though the major goal of asset securitization is to attract private investors, it would also lead to greater market efficiency. This would also induce private investors who are interested in portfolio building to build their portfolios from the securitized assets that have formulated risk and reward arrangements see reference 8.

Despite all the benefits, asset securitization in the mortgage industry has been criticized as a cause of the recent financial crisis. However, Shin see reference 14 contends that the cause of the crisis was "distorted incentives that developed at all stages of the securitization process," and that securitization itself is not harmful for the system. Rather, he argues that neglect of safety measures is the main harm. Asset securitization of NMTCs would require CEs to become shareholders of the assets, thereby ensuring the assets' low risk potential.