Economists at Ohio State University and the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank have found mortgages held by lenders are significantly more likely to be modified than mortgages sold on the secondary market.

The study, which has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Financial Economics, evaluated a database with 34 million mortgages or roughly 64% of all residential US mortgages at the time. This represented data coming from 19 different mortgage servicing companies on loans owned by 10 large banks. The study found loans that were held by their issuing banks were between 26% and 36% more likely to be modified when their borrowers fell behind on the payments than mortgages which had been sold on the secondary market.

“Homeowners don’t have a say in whether their bank sells their mortgage or not, but that can have a significant impact on whether their loan is re-negotiated,” said Itzhak Ben-David, co-author of the study and assistant professor of finance at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “From the homeowners’ perspective, whether their mortgage is traded among investors is completely outside of their control.”