The Big Short script

INT. SMALL OFFICE - RATING AGENCY SURVEILLANCE DEPT - DAY 91

GEORGIA

I can't see a damn thing.

GEORGIA HALE (55) is a pleasant, middle-class woman wearing EYE EXAM SUNSHADES and fussing with her blinds.

GEORGIA (CONT’D)

My eye doctor's always busy. I end up taking any appointment they'll give me and then the whole morning gets shot to hell.

She goes to her desk... where Mark and Vinny wait.

GEORGIA (CONT’D)

Alrighty. So. FrontPoint Partners. "How can Standard and Poors help you"?

VINNY

We don't understand why the ratings agencies aren't downgrading subprime bonds, since the underlying loans are deteriorating.

GEORGIA

Well, delinquency rates have people worried, but they're actually within our models.

MARK

Models that you share with the banks. Couldn’t they be gaming them?

GEORGIA

I highly doubt it. These are very large banks that care a great deal about their reputations.

MARK

They care a lot more about their bonuses.

GEORGIA

I'm sure the world's banks have more nuanced incentives than abject greed, Mr. Baum.

MARK

You're wrong.

GEORGIA

Then they'll go bankrupt. The marketplace is ruthlessly efficient.

Mark considers this old saw a moment.

MARK

Your convinced the underlying mortgages in these bonds are solid loans?

GEORGIA

That's our opinion, yes.

MARK

Here's what I don't understand: if these mortgage bonds are so solid why are all the stocks for the mortgage brokerage companies down? These are companies issuing the loans that make up the bonds and they’re tanking.

She's inscrutable behind her sunshades. But the fact she doesn't argue tells us he's shaken her confidence.

GEORGIA

We believe our ratings will prove accurate.

MARK

Have you ever refused to rate any of these bonds upper tranches AAA? Can we see the paper work on those deals?

GEORGIA

I’m not under any obligation to share that information with you.

MARK

Just answer me Georgia. Can you name one time in the past year where you checked the tape and didn’t give the banks the triple AAA percentage they wanted? Half beat.

GEORGIA

If we deny them the rating they'll go to Moody's.

A stunned beat. She's not supposed to say this.

GEORGIA (CONT’D)

"If we don't work with them, they'll go to our competitors".

VINNY

Holy shit. They’re selling ratings for fees.

Silence. Mark didn't know it was that simple, that cynical.

MARK

You can afford to make less. Make less.

GEORGIA

It’s not my decision. I have a boss.

MARK

Really? That’s the angle you’re taking? So anyone who has a boss can’t be held responsible for doing shitty and illegal things? What are you, nine years old?

She takes her glasses off. Her eyes are watery, dilated.

GEORGIA

And what, pray tell, are your incentives?! Why are you in my office?! Is it maybe in your interest to have the ratings change?! How many credit default swaps do you own?!

She's nailed him.

MARK (quietly)

That doesn't make me wrong.

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