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This is a quote from Liars Poker, the famous book by Michael Lewis that details his time working as a bond salesman.

Lewis Ranieri cast himself in an odd role for a Wall Street salesman. He personified mortgage bonds. When people didn't buy them, he appeared wounded. It was as if Ranieri himself were being sold short. He told The United States Banker in 1985: "Those of us in housing felt the market was charging us more of a premium for the prepayment risks than the real value." Think about the way that sentence was put. Ranieri wasn't charged a premium. It was the homeowner who was charged.

For some context, Lewis Ranieri is the "father" of mortgage-backed securities, and at this point in the book, has bought up a lot of home loans and is now trying to sell mortgage bonds. But potential buyers were worried about the risk that homeowners refinance, and wanted a discount on the price.

I'm very confused about the line "It was the homeowner who was charged." Why would that be true? Ranieri has bought up the bonds and now wants to sell them at the highest price possible, why is the homeowner in this equation? I very well could be misinterpreting what Lewis is describing here, so would appreciate any clarification here.

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    That refers to the quote just before and the "personification". It's like a certain criminal political candidate saying it's not the candidate charged with crimes, it's "all his supporters".
    – littleadv
    Jan 21 at 5:51

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From the comments:

That refers to the quote just before and the "personification". It's like a certain criminal political candidate saying it's not the candidate charged with crimes, it's "all his supporters".

Answering my own question, littleadv is right I just misinterpreted what he meant. Ranieri is obviously the one taking the premium.

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