Thursday, December 16, 2004

$25 Billion: Idea #4 Community Investment Securities

In Michael Lewis best selling books, Liar's Poker, we learned of the ways and means of bond traders. The book captures the creativity and destruction inherent in the world of financial markets, including the wizardry, salesmanship, and opportunism that can lead to new financial products. The story turns around Louis Raineri, a Solomon Brothers manager who created mortgage-backed securities, changed the regulations to allow their sale, ushered in a housing boom, lowered mortgage rates for consumers, generated hundred of millions of dollars in business for Wall Street, helped precipitate the Savings & Loan crisis, and lost his job for his efforts.

Lets hope the same doesn't happen to Frank Altman, of the Community Reinvestment Fund, who has performed the same act of creating new financial products - this time for the social sector. Inc. Magazine named Altman one of their Entrepreneurs of the Year, and their
story captures the nuance, risk and opportunity better than I ever could.

Here's to seeing an idea become action and a step toward a real social sector financial market.

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