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Securitization and moral hazard: evidence from credit score cutoff rules

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  • Ryan Bubb
  • Alex Kaufman

Abstract

Mortgage originators use credit score cutoff rules to determine how carefully to screen loan applicants. Recent research has hypothesized that these cutoff rules result from a securitization rule of thumb. Under this theory, an observed jump in defaults at the cutoff would imply that securitization led to lax screening. We argue instead that originators adopted credit score cutoff rules in response to underwriting guidelines from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and offer a simple model that rationalizes such an origination rule of thumb. Under this alternative theory, jumps in default are not evidence that securitization caused lax screening. We examine loan-level data and find that the evidence is inconsistent with the securitization rule-of-thumb theory but consistent with the origination rule-of-thumb theory. There are jumps in the number of loans and in their default rate at credit score cutoffs in the absence of corresponding jumps in the securitization rate. We conclude that credit score cutoff rules provide evidence that large securitizers were to some extent able to regulate originators' screening behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Bubb & Alex Kaufman, 2011. "Securitization and moral hazard: evidence from credit score cutoff rules," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:11-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Keys, Benjamin J. & Mukherjee, Tanmoy & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2009. "Financial regulation and securitization: Evidence from subprime loans," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 700-720, July.
    2. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    3. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro & Paul S. Willen, 2007. "Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures," Working Papers 07-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:7:p:2071-2108 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2010. "Securitization and distressed loan renegotiation: Evidence from the subprime mortgage crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 369-397, September.
    6. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    7. Ryan Bubb & Alex Kaufman, 2011. "Further investigations into the origin of credit score cutoff rules," Working Papers 11-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    9. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
    10. John Krainer & Elizabeth Laderman, 2009. "Mortgage loan securitization and relative loan performance," Working Paper Series 2009-22, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffmann, Mathias & Krause, Michael U. & Laubach, Thomas, 2012. "Trend growth expectations and U.S. house prices before and after the crisis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 394-409.
    2. Bhardwaj, Geetesh & Sengupta, Rajdeep, 2012. "Subprime mortgage design," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1503-1519.
    3. Albertazzi, Ugo & Eramo, Ginette & Gambacorta, Leonardo & Salleo, Carmelo, 2015. "Asymmetric information in securitization: An empirical assessment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 33-49.

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    Keywords

    Mortgage loans ; Credit scoring systems;

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