A margin call occurs when the value of your account drops to a level where your broker believes he’s taking on more of your account’s risk than he’s comfortable with doing.
Remember, you borrowed money in order to trade more than what your original funds allowed so you are responsible for your margin requirement. To resolve a margin call, you can deposit more funds into your account, or close out (liquidate) some positions in order to reduce your margin requirements.
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You won’t be able to open new positions until you’ve satisfied a margin call.
Alternatively, E*TRADE can sell securities in your account in order to cover your margin deficiency. You are also responsible for any shortfall in the account after these sales.
As a courtesy, E*TRADE may, whenever possible, make a best efforts attempt to notify you of margin calls, but they are not required to do so.
Finally, note that there are no extensions of time to meet a maintenance margin call.