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Ratings Agency Requiring Due Diligence

Fitch requiring third-party loan-level reviews

December 3, 2008

By MortgageDaily.com staff

One of the three major credit ratings providers is now requiring due diligence on all residential securitizations it rates.

Fitch Ratings said late Tuesday that it will require third-party loan-level reviews on all residential mortgage pools that it rates. The reviews will include an inspection of the loan file and data tape.

Fitch will review a report detailing missing information or exceptions to stated guidelines for origination and underwriting.

The due-diligence provider cannot be tied to the originator, issuer or security underwriter. Fitch noted the review company must have the appropriate operations and experience for the type of loans being reviewed.

The New York-based ratings agency explained that poor underwriting at origination was primarily responsible for the severe under-performance of loans behind residential mortgage-backed securities.

Andy Hall and Clayton Greenfield are probably pretty happy about Fitch's move.

The due diligence executives launched Hall Underwriting and Consulting LLC, an announcement yesterday said. The Montgomery, Ala.-based firm's proprietary due diligence system, MOREX, couples detailed analytics with mortgage analysts to provide risk-based decisions.

In a separate announcement, Fitch said it will now require a copy of the representations and warranties for deals it rates. The provider of the reps & warranties must have a minimum Fitch rating of BBB.

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