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Fitch/CSW To Enhance Appraisal Quality Evaluations For MBS

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 2001--Fitch, the international rating agency, and Case, Shiller, Weiss, Inc. (CSW), the U.S. lending industry's source for high-quality home price analytics, have entered into an agreement that allows the rating agency ongoing access to CSW's CASA? Engine for several purposes. CASA is one of the most widely-accepted automated valuation model (AVM) technologies among lenders.

The rating agency will use CASA Portfolio Valuation Services for the following appraisal quality evaluation applications:

  • Detecting and quantifying appraisal value risk of mortgage-backed securities (MBS);
  • Targeting loan files that have high risk characteristics, including questionable appraisal values, as part of Fitch's residential mortgage originator review process;
  • Quality-checking original and REO sale valuations associated with individual defaulted mortgages as part of Fitch's residential mortgage servicer rating process.

Ken Higgins, Senior Director at Fitch said, `We share concerns voiced by both investors and residential appraisers that the integrity of the traditional home appraisal process is sometimes compromised. By monitoring appraisal values with CSW's CASA technology, we can identify and better evaluate collateral valuation risks. This ground-breaking initiative to implement enhanced appraisal quality evaluations will ultimately help all constituencies involved in the loan origination and funding process. MBS investors, mortgage originators, servicers, borrowers and appraisers should benefit from this promotion of best practices.'

Allan Weiss, President and CEO of CSW responded, `This is a truly exciting project, and we are extremely pleased that Fitch chose CASA as the backbone for its appraisal evaluation process. Earning an assignment of this magnitude is a confirmation that our ongoing investments in R&D, quality data and infrastructure yield impressive returns.'

Terry Loebs, CSW's Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Customer Support added, `CSW knows that Fitch's product performance and integrity standards are very high. During the Fitch testing process, it became clear that this ambitious project would require a trustworthy and flexible AVM service provider capable of producing accurate, objective automated valuations and predictive collateral scores.'

Higgins highlighted, `Our appraisal quality evaluation process will benefit from not only CASA's performance, but from unique product and service functionality that fits our complex application. In addition to standard CASA value estimates and collateral scoring metrics, Fitch will use CASA's Safety Scores, Retrospective Value Estimates, and Distressed Value Estimates. Our new process also requires rapid fulfillment of large batch orders, and production of valuation integrity analyses and exception report packages via CSW's Portfolio Valuation Services. With CASA, we have a complete and expert-supported solution.'

About Fitch
As the international rating agency, Fitch is fully committed to serving capital market participants by providing the highest quality ratings and research. Fitch has a rating presence in 75 countries and 40 offices worldwide. Fitch rates 1,600 financial institutions, 1,000 corporates and maintains surveillance on 3,300 structured financings and 17,000 municipal bond ratings in the U.S. tax-exempt market. Fitch also rates over 700 insurance companies plus 69 sovereigns. With a combined analytic, professional staff, and support of 1,100, Fitch covers the Financial Institutions, Banks, Corporates, Loan Products, Structured Finance, Insurance, Sovereigns and Public Finance markets worldwide. Fitch has dual headquarters in New York and London and is fully owned by FIMALAC, Paris.

About Case, Shiller, Weiss
CSW is the leader provider of automated valuation model (AVM) services and home valuation metrics to U.S. financial institutions. CSW's analytic products leverage one of the largest and best-filtered property records database in the country. Its research-driven approach has yielded a variety of premium-quality products and services for mortgage originators, servicers, investors and others. The company's products and services include CASA? and the REdex Library(TM), a suite of residential Real Estate Indexes and related metrics, comprised of the highest-quality home price information. CSW's clients include most of the largest banking institutions in the country.

Fitch, New York
Kenneth Higgins
CSW Contact:
Terry Loebs

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