Staff Reports

Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit

March 2008Number 318
JEL classification: G24, G28

Authors: Adam B. Ashcraft and Til Schuermann>

In this paper, we provide an overview of the subprime mortgage securitization process and the seven key informational frictions that arise. We discuss the ways that market participants work to minimize these frictions and speculate on how this process broke down. We continue with a complete picture of the subprime borrower and the subprime loan, discussing both predatory borrowing and predatory lending. We present the key structural features of a typical subprime securitization, document how rating agencies assign credit ratings to mortgage-backed securities, and outline how these agencies monitor the performance of mortgage pools over time. Throughout the paper, we draw upon the example of a mortgage pool securitized by New Century Financial during 2006.

Available only in PDFPDF82 pages / 465 kb

For a published version of this report, see Adam B. Ashcraft and Til Schuermann, "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends in Finance 2, no. 3 (July 2008): 191-309.