Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Details Are Key to Landrieu-Isakson Qualified Residential Mortgage Exemption from Skin in the Game Rule

In a letter submitted today to the SEC and other joint regulators charged with implementing the section of the Dodd-Frank Act dealing with risk retention for securitized mortgage-backed securities, the American Securitization Forum (ASF) underscored its support for retention requirements which are tailored to different classes of securitized assets and spelled out a series of specific criteria that should be used to establish the definition for a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM). The Landrieu-Isakson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act carved out an exemption for qualified residential mortgages from the skin in the game requirement of securitized mortgages, but left the details to the SEC and other regulators. The ASF also proposed several different options sponsors could 0use to satisfy risk retention obligations for residential mortgage-backed securities. In developing a definition of a QRM which would exempt qualifying mortgage-backed securities from risk retention requirements. ASF members, including institutional investors and issuers, developed a series of standards, such as income and asset verification, minimum borrower equity and debt-to-income ratios, that mortgages would have to meet in order to be included in a qualifying QRM. The ASF has produced a definition that seeks to significantly strengthen mortgage pools, while, at the same time, ensures appropriate credit can resume flowing to homebuyers. The Forum said that it is essential that a balanced definition is developed for the Qualified Residential Mortgage to ensue creditworthy borrowers qualify for the lowest mortgage rate possible.