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Bankruptcy exemptions, credit history, and the mortgage market

  • Souphala Chomsisengphet
  • Ronel Elul
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    We develop and test a model of mortgage underwriting, with particular reference to the role of credit bureau scores. In our model scores are used in a standardized fashion, which reflects the prevalence of automated underwriting in industry practice. We show that our model has implications for the debate on the effect of personal bankruptcy exemptions on secured lending. Recent literature (Berkowitz and Hynes (1999), Lin and White (2001)) has developed conflicting theories—and found conflicting results—seeking to explain how exemptions affect the mortgage market. ; By contrast, our model implies that when lenders use credit scores in a standardized manner, exemptions should be irrelevant to the mortgage underwriting decision. Merging data from a major credit bureau with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) dataset, we confirm this prediction of our model. We also show that while ignoring borrower credit quality may make exemptions appear to be significant, once one controls for credit scores then exemptions have no effect on the likelihood that a mortgage application is approved. We confirm this empirically and argue that this may help explain some of the results of the previous literature.

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    File URL: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2004/WP04-14R.pdf
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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 04-14.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:04-14
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    1. Avery, Robert B. & Calem, Paul S. & Canner, Glenn B., 2004. "Consumer credit scoring: Do situational circumstances matter?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 835-856, April.
    2. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1304, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Barakova, Irina & Bostic, Raphael W. & Calem, Paul S. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Does credit quality matter for homeownership?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 318-336, December.
    5. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
    6. Berkowitz, Jeremy & Hynes, Richard, 1999. "Bankruptcy Exemptions and the Market for Mortgage Loans," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 809-30, October.
    7. Brueckner, Jan K, 2000. "Mortgage Default with Asymmetric Information," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 251-74, May.
    8. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Joseph Nichols, 2000. "Credit History and the FHA-Conventional Choice," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 307-336.
    9. Brent W. Ambrose & Charles A. Capone, 1998. "Modeling the Conditional Probability of Foreclosure in the Context of Single-Family Mortgage Default Resolutions," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 391-429.
    10. Robert B. Avery & Paul S. Calem & Glenn B. Canner, 2004. "Consumer credit scoring: do situational circumstances matter?," BIS Working Papers 146, Bank for International Settlements.
    11. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
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