Defining Prudent Underwriting: An International Struggle

By: Laurence E. Platt, Kristie D. Kully, Andrew L. Caplan

In an attempt to insulate credit markets from the high-risk residential mortgage lending activities that threatened the global financial system in 2008, regulators both in the United States and elsewhere are seeking to impose stricter residential mortgage underwriting standards. Specifically, the U.S. Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act[1] (“Dodd-Frank”) in part to create “Grade-A” designations for residential mortgage loans that meet stringent underwriting requirements and other criteria. Those loans may enjoy a presumption of compliance with certain federal laws, and some may also be exempt from economic risk retention requirements that will apply to other loans.

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